Pastor’s Paragraph for October 13, 2019

Pastor's Paragraph for October 13, 2019

OCTOBER 13, 2019


When I retired from full-time ministry in 2005, I really thought that some of the Biblical and theological challenges that I had dealt with as an appointed pastor were history. I was mistaken, and happily so! I find my part-time work at Camp Hill UMC full of great challenges that keep me thinking and studying, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is living proof that the Holy Spirit is always at work in our hearts and minds, continuously helping us to better understand Holy Scripture in the context of our everyday lives and present-day challenges.

Luke Timothy Johnson, in his book Scripture & Discernment—Decision Making In The Church, says “The New Testament provides its readers with examples of ways in which authoritative texts can freely be reread in light of new experience and the working of the Spiritwithout thereby ceasing to be normative” (p. 41). Luke Johnson uses Jesus’ crucifixion as a prime example of “rereading” key texts: The Apostle Peter was certain that God would never want His Messiah to be crucified or “hung on a tree,” and told Jesus his strong feelings about that fact. Jesus’ response: “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Jesus knew God’s will for His life emphatically enough that He would share His negative feelings with Peter, who was certainly stunned with Jesus’ rebuke. Jesus freely “reread” and “reinterpreted” the text from Deuteronomy 21:22 (“for anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse”). 

Clearly, the more we dig into Scripture, and the deeper we dig into Scripture, the more we grow. Scripture is the key! There is no such thing as spending too much time in Scripture. I consider myself fortunate in being able to hear two great interpretations of Scripture every Sunday morning from Pastor Anna and Pastor Gary, and, if they are away, I have had the joy of hearing two other great interpretations from Pastor Stephen Gallaher or Pastor Jon Uhlinger (I will truly miss Pastor Jon’s Biblical insights). And then I have the privilege of going to my Monday Night Band of Brothers Bible study and listening to our members share their own great insights into different portions of Scripture. 

If we have the Bible open in front of us on a regular basis, we will never stop growing in the Christian faith. It fills me full of joy in just thinking about that fact. I hope you feel the same way.


Rev. Dr. Jack Grove

New Members Ministry