Ok so this isn’t as much about a specific passage of Scripture (clearly not a photo of a nymph) as much as it is the process of working through these ancient stories. So with yesterday’s Wordle, I was really confused after the third row. I had used up the standard vowels and most of the “popular” consonants. Having only the last letter as an H was confusing when there wasn’t a T or an S in the word. So I did the first two lines as I was eating breakfast and then stopped for a while before coming back to it a few hours later. My third word was one that I knew wasn’t the right one but was to just try to get some other letters figured out. After the N was revealed, there was a “light bulb” moment (hence the photo) and I put in NYMPH and there it was. Sometimes, we have to try something really outside the norm to try to understand what we are seeing or reading or experiencing.
There’s a lot of that with reading the Bible. We are reading ancient words written by people from thousands of years ago from a world and cultures very different. While we can bring lessons and insights from them into our lives today, it isn’t a simple “this fits today the same as it fit back then.” As I am re-reading through the Hebrew Bible right now, I’m reading stories that just make my head spin (as well as those of others who are reading along with me at the congregation I serve) and I feel a bit like I have used up all my vowels and consonants in Wordle and have no idea what the final word might be.
A few years ago, a mentor of mine suggested reading passages of Scripture in the opposite to get a deeper understanding. He suggested trying it with Psalm 23 where all of a sudden it sounds like God isn’t the guiding and loving shepherd and that God abandons us during times of trial. Reading it that way helps to bring out the depth of meaning in the way that it is actually written. Some passages lend themselves to that, others don’t. But for ones that are confusing or hard to relate to, it is ok to ask tough questions of them and not simply to just say, “well, ok, that must be how it is then.” It is ok to wrestle with Scripture just as Jacob wrestled with the angel.
And sometimes, we’ll get that “aha” moment and sometimes we won’t. But it is ok to wrangle a bit with these ancient words through which God continues to speak.