Week of: October 20, 2019
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:14 - 4:5
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
(2 Timothy 3:14-15, CEB)
When I received my first mathematics textbook with an answer key, it only provided answers to the odd numbered problems. I still had to show my work, but that safety net helped build my skill and confidence to succeed on the other questions. Though a solid math student, I never failed to check the answers in the back of the book ... just to make sure. I had learned, but I wasn't convinced.
Paul reminds me: "You've learned your lessons but be sure to check your answers in the Book!" He challenges me to measure my beliefs against the standard of God's Word for assurance. Finding truth begs me to profess my conviction. My errors call me to repent and change. To paraphrase missiologist Paul G. Hiebert, we may hold on to our truths but our convictions hold on to us.
We encounter challenges to our artistic convictions from within and without. Is that song too secular? Is that skit too long? Is the drum too loud? Is the altar arrangement too abstract? When these challenges spring from a holy and loving heart space they merit our consideration. Ultimately, however, though we come from different disciplines, we share the same reference tool. Let us never forget to check our answers in the Book!
"Lord, your word is so pleasing to my taste buds — it's sweeter than honey in my mouth." *
Keep us returning time and again to your holy scripture that makes us wise and leads us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is in his name that we entreat you. Amen.
* Psalm 119:103, CEB
Director of Traditional Music and Worship
First United Methodist Church
Photo: A dancer recesses with the chancel bible at the end of closing worship of Music & Worship Arts Week 2018. (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig.)