Last Sunday together as a congregation, we shared thoughts and insights regarding Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman as recorded in Matthew 15. It’s a difficult and challenging passage whereby its interpretation depends so much on other factors not recorded. So for example questions such as: 'Was Jesus engaging in banter with a smile on his face?', 'was this a private conversion, or one played out to the watching disciples?’ and 'was Jesus’ tone of voice one of irritation and annoyance, or encouragement and challenge?’
In one sense of course, we will never know, but at least as we discussed it together, and were able to receive each other’s views, thoughts and suggestions face to face, we have a clearer understanding of the various interpretations of what might have been going on.
This all leaves me with a couple of thoughts regarding the importance of sharing and learning face to face.
As I know I’ve said before, I continue to believe the best way for us to engage with scripture is TOGETHER! Be it in church or groups of different sizes at various times of the week, as friends of Jesus together and with his Spirit’s help, we can receive a much fuller picture of what’s going on.
To add to these opportunities we are currently looking to add a further opportunity during the week around midday on a Thursday, where by we can open up the bible, as well as support one another in prayer.
That’s all in the realm of church, but I’m also aware (through my own children’s own growing usage) of what newer technologies such as the internet, provide, - whereby group chats and forums of various kinds, are another way of exploring and discovering together
However, such methods are not face to face, and carry with them the possibility of misunderstanding, limited communication, and the propensity to get hold of the wrong end of the stick! Certainly as was our experience in church when exploring our bible passage, we need those other clues; smiles, tone of voice, and so on, to help provide the full context as to what is going on.
So, as our week progresses, let’s look to draw close to God and his word wherever possible, both on our own, and ideally in community together.