A season to dwell deeply in the Scripture

Bishop Ellie Sanderson

God’s people have always had to navigate challenging times and try to make sense of them in their relationship with God.

As we adjust to this unprecedented season, how can we do this well with Jesus?

I want to really encourage us all to set patterns of prayer and Scripture reading. In the Anglican tradition, that I am part of, our daily offices of prayer come with regular readings of Scripture. Many of you may choose to use other daily Scripture devotionals. God is present to us in the scriptures and this is a time when we can really choose to dwell deeply in them with God.

I want to offer us one potential anchor from Scripture to help guide us as we come to the Bible in this season. This comes from the culminating passage in Paul’s great hymn to love in 1 Corinthians:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

As we come to our daily readings of Scripture, I want to encourage us to ask. “where do I see faith in this reading?”, “Where do I see hope in this reading?”, “where do I see love in this reading?”. These are helpful questions to guide us into the world of the scriptures. Then, take time to ask the Holy Spirit what faith, what hope, what love God wants to gift to us for our days and our lives now. Then, ask the Holy Spirit what ways we can be bearers of faith, of hope and of love to others. In a season when we can easily become overwhelmed, I want to offer this practice as a way of taking simple, small but significant steps with our God every day.

Let us come to times of Scripture reading with a conscious choice to believe in God’s deep unconditional love for us and an expectation that we can grow in that love ourselves. My prayer is that we will all grow in faith, in hope and in love during this season. Choosing to dwell even more deeply in the scriptures will help us to do this, particularly when we come to them with a confidence in God’s love for us and for the world.

May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts and the treasures of Scripture be a rich and fruitful feast for you, your households and for your neighbours.

Bishop Ellie Sanderson is the Vice President of Bible Society New Zealand