July 16, 2017

Romans 1: 21-28; 1 Samuel 18: 1-4 (NRSV)

A teacher friend described her history curriculum for high school students. Instead of teaching facts, the curriculum presents copies of original documents from multiple perspectives. The students are asked to think about what the facts might mean. Conclusions vary, depending on the mix of perspectives presented, and the opinions developed by different students.

I thought of this conversation when I read today’s two scriptures.

When the Bible seems to have contrasting messages, how do we discern what the meaning might be?

We can accept each reading as completely factual; throw each out, along with all scripture that seems to contradict itself; or look at each reading as it contributes meaning to the big picture.

In one reading, we hear that God is our blessed creator. Honoring God means honoring God’s creation, not above God, but as God created it. We should love each other as God loves us, not debasing God’s creation in any way.

In the other reading, Jonathan loves David “as his own soul”. He honors him. He does not debase him. And Saul honors their relationship.

Conclusions may vary. But I hear “honor God and God’s creation.”

Isn’t that God’s big picture?

Let us pray. Loving and creative God, thank you for the many examples of love we see in scripture. Help us to honor you and your creation in all that we say and do, looking for your meaning behind the apparent facts. Amen.

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