Sacred Scripture is a gift to all denominations of the Christian religion. We know that one of the key elements uniting us as Christians is the scriptures. All Christians are, in different ways, “people of the book”.
It was Thomas Aquinas who first pointed out that God’s revelation of Godself comes in three ways.
Our first revelation, or as some would say, our first scripture, is creation. We need to learn to read the book of creation because the world ‘flames forth’ the beauty of God.
Our own story is a second form of revelation, a personal scripture we interpret in relationship with God, creation and ourselves.
The third book of revelation is, of course, the written Word, the Sacred Scriptures, the First and Second (Old and New) Testaments.
Both testaments witness through story, myth, poetry and letters to a God who is a God of love and forgiveness.
Sacred Scripture invites us to learn about Mystery, about relationship with the Divine. It invites us also to an understanding of the self in relationship with all that is. Thus Scripture teaches us over and over that we are the beloved of God and that all creation is a reflection of the God of love.
No matter how we differ in doctrine, this word of love spoken through the scriptures binds us powerfully to each other and to the neighbour who is both light and shadow when spoken of in scripture.
The scriptures answer that basic question about love: who is my neighbour?
Consistently, the scriptures remind us of the truth both about our neighbour and who we are meant to be as neighbour.
The neighbour is the one we overlook, the one who knocks relentlessly at our door, the one in need, the stranger who looks different, dresses differently, worships differently. Our neighbour is also the one who is our mirror self. Our neighbour is gift and challenge.
We celebrate this truth and similar truths embedded in Scripture by the way we construct our rituals around the Word of God in language and in the person of Jesus, the Word and the imagination of God.
We have inherited the scriptures because of the memory of those early Christians writing so many years after the death of Jesus; through the power of their original languages, Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, later Latin and the thousands of other languages used to translate the original texts.
We have also inherited the scriptures as time’s gift to us. Time has kept these sacred stories for us in so many forms: scrolls, torn sheets, printed words, books, DVDs and so on.
The scriptures always invite us to open doors, never to close them.
In a book, Love Poems from God, celebrating mystics of East and West, Thomas Aquinas poetry is quoted:
First we need to
We are all madly in love
With the same
The scriptures are our gift – let us contemplate them.
Colleen O’Sullivan rsj