Five is not enough

I began the Reformation Bible Reading Challenge telling others that it would take only five minutes to read the assigned passages each day. That may be true, if all we’re doing is strictly reading. But I take back my words. The challenge is not getting through the text, but getting into the text. I don’t mean that we each have to read commentaries and dictionaries, as helpful as those can be. But we have to give our minds and hearts time to get into the words on the page and for the Word to get into our hearts and minds.

It is sometimes called contemplation, which simply means to spend time with something. Some call it “lectio divina”. The technique is simple: take time, read several times, slowly, deliberately. Ask yourself what speaks to you, what word or phrase stands out. Be silent. Take inventory of the thoughts and feelings coursing through your mind and heart. Try silencing the distractions within and around you. Pay attention only to the words of scripture and what they do in your heart and mind. Let yourself be filled with that word or phrase that speaks to you.

In our overstimulating age of continuous information, less is more and more is less. Less information, more contemplation. More concentration, less distraction. For every five minutes of Bible reading, I suggest planning at least fifteen minutes of silent listening. Then share what you have heard, not just what you have read. I’d love to hear/read from you.




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Heart Burn

My name is Markus Wilhelm. I`m a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, and serve Glory Lutheran Church in Sherwood Park. I was asked a few months ago what, in a sentence, my greatest hope is for our congregation. I spontaneously answered, I hope we will become well acquainted with the Bible. I grew up eight kilometers from Wittenberg, where Martin Luther worked most of his life. My family emigrated to Canada in 1979, ten years before the Iron Curtain fell. Theology runs in the family, going back several generations on both my father's and my mother's side. After attending college in Canada, I studied theology in Tuebingen, and was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in 1992. I have served in congregations in British Columbia and Alberta.

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