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Spiritual Direction #20



When I first started this series on spiritual disciplines, I was planning to do a three-part series based on Henri Nouwen’s model: the disciplines of the heart, the book, and the church.

However, this is now point twenty – and I haven’t finished the first part yet. So, I am going to do one more before I change my focus. But watch this space – I will return to this topic.

When I visited Jerusalem several years ago, I observed a Rabbi studying the Scriptures near the Western wall. He was hunched over as if he wanted to be as close to the text as possible.

He was completely focussed; undistracted by the noise around him. His fingers caressed the page as one would a precious artefact. He was muttering prayers.

In his book ‘The Glory of Preaching’, Darrell Johnson quotes a Jewish scholar, Michael Fishbane, who said, “…Everything depends on how we read; on how we enter the magic circle of a text’s meanings; on how we smuggle ourselves into its words and allow the texture of a text to weave its web around us...”

That’s how the Rabbi in Jerusalem was reading the Scriptures. That’s how I want to read the Bible. That’s why I have a picture of a Rabbi reading the Scriptures in my study – to remind me.

Is your heart close to the text?

Have you allowed its words and message to captivate you?

Do you handle the Scriptures with prayer?


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