Originally uploaded by LauraS.
In August 2004 , I spent a few days at the Retreat Center of San Luis Rey mission--a great place, by the way. During those few days I read Torah, Samuel, Kings, Luke, Acts, and a book of Christian history (see Laura's Mind for the resulting splat poetry). The center is beautiful and quiet. The reading reminded me of who I am and what I am a part of--the people of God.

I loved having time to reflect and to fill my soul with the stories of the people of God. It's amazing how ministry and seminary take up so much space that reflection and filling get set aside. This ought not to be so.

This term, part of the assignment in Exegesis of Ephesians was spending 20 minutes praying through each section of the book (once the exegesis was complete). It is a sad thing, but I found this hard to do. Once I began, though, the fruit of it was clear. All the exegesis in the world cannot replace a soul resting in God's presence and listening to his voice. Now, I am not saying that one should set exegesis aside. In fact, I find that placing prayer after exegesis helps me listen more closely to God's voice. Exegesis bridges the gap in time, language, and culture, helping me translate what God said then into what he is saying now.

All that being said, though, in the end one MUST put down the lexicons, grammars, and commentaries, and spend time--yes, time--resting in God's presence and listening to his voice. So, from now on, this is my intention: for every passage I study and every passage I teach, I will pray through it and listen to the voice of God. This means starting the study process earlier. It means not waiting until the day before and pulling a rabbit out of my hat (even though I actually do have some fairly cool rabbits). Why? I cannot teach what I do not know, and I cannot know what I have not reflected upon. Reflection takes time.

So, I challenge you, whoever you may be, to take time, to not wait, and to rest before God in his word before you dare teach others.

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