Saturday, December 21, 2019

Holy Scriptures as parakaleo/Sabbath time

Holy Scripture as the “Called One Alongside" 

It took me over 65 years of Scripture study and reflection to get here. 

That is the exciting part of a relationship. There is no way to know everything in the beginning about another person or the living Word.

I have a story to illustrate. When I was first ordained I was assigned as the curate at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Sioux City. Father Shaner was the priest in charge. Since he had been there 25 years some thought he needed an assistant. There may have been other reasons.

C. B. Chesterman, who had both the coca cola and seven up franchise in Sioux City, Iowa, paid my salary at St. Thomas. To oversee his investment, he and his wife invited me out for dinner once a month at the best restaurant in town, the Normandy on the north side.

I was half time at St. Tomas and half time at St. George’s in LeMars, Iowa, where I lived. The distance between the two was 25 miles, meaning a lot of driving in a year. On Sunday I would have an early service in LeMars and drive to St. Thomas to help at the later service. t 

Back to the Chestermans. I was a newly ordained single clergyman, 25 years old, with a couple in their 80’s, married 60 years, having dinner together. You might wonder if we found anything to talk about even though he was finding out about me and checking up on his investment. After a couple invites I looked forward to our fun evening together. They were a delight. At some point during the first year I asked, “What is the secret to your relationship? You have so much fun together.” Without any hesitation he replied, “We don’t know each other yet.” 

Aha! I have known that about Holy Scriptures over the years. We don’t know each other yet. New revelations have continued to unfold over the years.

A couple weeks ago preparing for the Saturday morning Bible study our reading was from the 15th chapter of Romans.  

These verses jumped out at me. Romans 15:4-6

4 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
With comfort we have the Greek word parakaleo, a called one alongside, para / alongside and kaleo / called.
The Beatitude from Matthew’s Gospel, “blessed are those who mourn for they shall have a parakaleo." They shall have a called one alongside.
With parakaleo our relationship with the Scriptures takes on an intimate and personal dimension. I can say after 60 plus years with Scripture, “We don’t know each other yet.” The excitement of the relationship continues with patience, or as other translations say, endurance. 
I relate to Holy Scriptures as a person, I (and there are many personalities and stories there) have an ongoing personal relationship with many, including St. Paul. Like him I too say “through the patience and parakaleo (called one alongside) of the Scriptures” ….  . 
Sabbath time, the time when we gather together, we re-member, we member again, all those who have gone before us. re means again. We use re a lot. rerun, renew, etc. How many can you name?
Marlin Whitmer

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