In Beyond the Words: Insights on the Gospels Through the Church Year, I have sought to remind us that Scripture is a living Word of the Living God. What matters is not just what the Scripture said, but also what it says.
The Church’s wisdom says that in order to know Jesus as the Living Word, we need to follow him down the path provided for in the Lectionary. This “wheel of Scripture” leads the people of God through a disciplined exposure to God’s saving work, from the Advent of Jesus’ Birth, through the Epiphany of his Revealing, on into the Season of Lent ... and to the joy of Easter. Reaching, through faith, “beyond the words,” we can more fully experience his Ascension, the Feast of Pentecost, Trinity Sunday—and Lessons of the Church season known as “Ordinary Time” ... leading to Christ the King Sunday, at the end of the Church Year.
Throughout these reflections, it is my fervent hope that you will see Scripture afresh; that you will hear it as a contemporary Word as well as an ancient Word. My prayer is that you will begin to hear the written Word as a vehicle through which Jesus, the living Word, grasps you and lifts you into the reality of the Real.
In other words, may you fall more deeply in love with God by reading what lies ahead. May you discover, or rekindle, your own love affair with the Divine, and allow this love to become more nearly the sacred heartbeat of your life. If this happens, even in just a tiny, mustard-seed kind of way, we all shall be blessed.
Lastly, may these reflections build up your faith so that you can continue on your spiritual journey with greater wisdom and gentleness. May they draw you into God’s abiding love, and, in turn, make you more of a Divine lover—a Gospel lover—best described by Desmond Tutu in his work The Compassionate Church:
“A compassionate Church would remind people that they count, they matter enormously to God. Their worth is intrinsic to who they are. It comes with the package of being human. They are of infinite value not because of anything extraneous, either biological achievement or any other attribute. They matter because God loves them. God loves them not because they are lovable; no, they are lovable because God loves them with a love that does not change; their names are engraved in the palms of his hand.”