Monday, February 13, 2017

Solid food. . .

For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:13-14)

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? (Cor 3:1-3)

Scripture says not everyone is ready for “solid food.” Few of us would admit that this verse is talking about us.  It is always others who not ready for solid food, for the deeper truths, for the secret knowledge.  That is the thing about knowledge.  Knowledge separates us.  That is why we love secrets.  Some of us know them and most of do not.  To be in the know is what we want.  Insider knowledge that is limited to a few is our goal.  We want to be on ten inside of the circle, so to speak.

We approach Scripture in the same way.  We think it is filled with secrets.  We want to know the secrets but they are no longer valuable if everyone knows them.  Knowledge is what sets us apart from others.  We like the dream of knowledge being equally applied so that all know all -- but the reality is not like the dream.  It is the dream of gnosticism that temps us all.   

The problem is that we tend to treat knowledge as something that does not necessarily affect us.  We have grown accustomed to the wisdom of the internet that seems unlimited and we have learned to mine its secrets and information more to answer our curiosity than to give us something to use.  That has become the same way we approach the Word of God.  We are curious but we tend to treat the information itself as the end.  It is information but it does not necessarily direct us in any way.  We want to know because we want to know not because we have an idea what to do with the knowledge.  Too much of what we call Bible study is the pursuit of information before which we are passive.  It does not even inform much less direct us.

I am not at all suggesting that it is better to be in the dark, not to know.  That said, it is better to know what we know well than to know very little about very much.  That is why Luther wrote the catechism.  It was written so that we would know what we know well -- so well it would become a part of us, inform who we are, and direct what we do.  The sad reality is that we treat the catechism as if it were child's play and we presume that we are ready for the solid food of the Word.  But unless we know well the catechism, we are not well equipped for the Word.  It sounds like a sacrilege to say this but it is true.  We are not all ready for solid food.  We are all ready the catechism.  Let us begin there and make sure we master it well.  It will serve us well as we prepare to feast upon the solid food.

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