Monday, October 26, 2009

Friendly Bible Study in Woodland, NC

I spent the weekend in Woodland, NC for the tenth month Representative Body meeting of North Carolina Yearly Meeting Conservative. On first day morning, we had a Friendly bible study before meeting for worship. Rich Square Friends have a simple form of bible study in which someone reads some verses aloud and then they wait for reflections to arise. This is different from the Friends' tradition of bible reading in which Friends sit together and read the bible, sharing with the group as they feel led, but not inviting reflection on the text.

Rich Square Friends use the Revised Common Lectionary as the source of the week's verses. I have often thought that it would be good for Friends to at least be familiar with the lectionary readings so that they had some sense of what other folks may have read that weekend in their church. This may give opportunities for discussion and open new avenues for ministry. I see it as a way of preparing the ground.

At times I felt almost giddy during the bible study because it felt so special to have this communal sharing of bible study, and at many different levels. Some Friends were very familiar with the bible, others were not. Some had insights into the particular historical and cultural context of the readings, while others offered real life experiences that reflected on the text. It was beautiful that Friends felt open to discuss their difficulties with various verses, and there was an indescribable way in which these difficulties felt like they belonged to all of us. It felt like the unity of the body of Christ that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12:24-26:

But God has combined the various parts of the body, giving special honour to the humbler parts, so that there might be no division in the body, but that all its parts might feel the same concern for one another. If one part suffers, all suffer together; if one flourishes, all rejoice together.

Every time I have done this form of bible study with Rich Square Friends it has been a deep, and wonderful experience.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great! I think the Lectionary is very valuable not only in tying ourselves to the larger body of Christ, but also because it is a counter balance to the tendency to just concentrate on the scriptures about which we are most confortable.