If Biblical scriptures are sometimes hard to understand, or so familiar they no longer speak a new Word to you, perhaps this blog can help. In each entry, I reflect on scripture or worship themes. I apply the themes to whatever I have experienced that week; current events globally, nationally, or in our church; or memories of stories or situations. Many times, the message evolves as I reflect. I have an initial thought, but God interjects something brand new. So I revise. In the process, God brings scripture to life.
Scripture to Life writings started from a simple request: my pastor asked me to provide a devotion at the beginning of our monthly committee meetings (September 2004). I chose to write a reflection on the previous (or upcoming) Sunday’s scripture (or music!) and theme. If I was absent from the actual meeting, I wrote a devotion anyway and e-mailed it to the chair of the committee for someone else to read. The devotions were well received, and it gave me a way to stay connected during a year when I was out of state much of the time.
When I ended my four-year term on the committee (June 2008), the devotion writing stopped. Three years later, a different pastor asked me to try writing something to share during weekly Sunday worship (August 14, 2011). Reflections on the scriptural reading for each service seemed a natural fit. Each one closes with a prayer. In the service it is called “prayer of preparation.” That was more than six years ago.
Each week I receive the coming Sunday’s scripture(s) and (usually) the pastor’s sermon title. I created my own rule since my piece is read during the worship service: no more than 250 words per reflection. Occasionally I get a Sunday “off” when the Prayer of Preparation does not fit in the service.
I present my piece in the worship service if I am attending; a pastor or another lay reader reads it at services I don’t attend myself. Whether I’m traveling for business or vacation, in Boston or New Orleans, I almost always send in a reflection to be shared!
Over the years, many church members have suggested that I publish my writings in some form. This blog is my response (with gratitude to my daughter for setting it up and posting over 320 past devotion writings!). Feel free to browse through or search for themes in past entries, sign up to receive weekly posts by email or RSS, and leave a comment when you feel so moved.
I hope you enjoy Scripture to Life!
Diane D. Allen, member,
First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, California