A Living Conversation: Curiosity will take us places

Curiosity will take us places. Be curious, explore, look again! 

Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their understanding that they might comprehend the scriptures” (NKJV)      

“Wow, I did not see that before!” 

“That changes everything!” 

“That is something I did not know before!”

These might be some of the responses we have as we grow in our engagement with sacred scripture over time. The beautiful thing is that our sacred texts are not dried ink on a page and static, but instead the word is a living word. It has the power to transform, to lighten the load, to inspire, to challenge and to stretch us. The Spirit is what opens up my understanding so that I can see more clearly, follow more closely and love more generously.  

The invitation for my mind to be opened and my heart expanded is always there. Thus, I need to approach the sacred texts as a living conversation without a previous agenda and to ask God to show me, to teach me, to have me listen to the living word with whatever invitation it has for me or for my community. I am prayerfully invited to be curious, to wonder, to explore, to discover, and to allow myself to be surprised and ready for new revelations or epiphanies to emerge.  

Be curious, wonder, explore, discover, and live.


When we are looking for a property, what do we know about the three most important things about real estate? Location, Location, Location. For example, we explore whether the property is in a flood zone, near a highway, near a good school and what the property tax rate is for that area. In the same way that locality matters to real estate, this too applies to scripture: context, context, context. If there is anything in my study, teaching and preaching that has evolved over time, it is my need to dig into the context more deeply in order to understand the text. I say it so much, I jokingly tell my congregation that the word “context” may end up on my gravestone. 

All this talk about context and location are my way of inviting people to be curious about a text.  Who is the author? To whom was this written? What was the location where this was taking place? When was this written? What comes before this particular text, what comes after in the text? All of these questions begin to open our understanding to see more clearly. 

Let us look at I Corinthians 13:1-13, the love passage. At first glance, when we read this passage which we often hear at weddings, it is a beautiful description of how to practice love. My curiosity next includes: why did the writer express this and why now? As I do my research, I see that the passage was written to the people of Corinth because something was going on for him to remind them to practice patience, and humility. In order to understand more, I need to go back to the twelfth chapter to see what is going on there. 

First Corinthians 12 talks about unity and diversity in the body, about gifts of the Spirit, that each member of the body has its function and necessity and that we are members of one body. And I dig some more: what was the conflict? Were people misbehaving? He clearly was reminding them of the purpose of living as a Christian community. This text was written by Paul at Ephesus and around 53-54 CE, even before the gospels were recorded. It was early in the life of Christian community and the issues were about the parameters of belonging to these communities. Was circumcision required? How should we celebrate the eucharist? Who were the leaders and what were their roles? Curiosity will take us places. Context is key.  


I like to practice wonder when exploring the parables. When I read a parable and I think that I got the message on the first reading, I need to look further. It is like the sign that is added to the stop sign when crossing a major highway that says: “Look Again.” When Jesus tells a story there is always a twist. Is the parable of the sower about the ground the seeds land on or about the Sower who scatters the seeds so generously? This is not like our 600 horse-power John Deer tractors with electronic systems that have depth and width measuring systems for each type of seed. Exploring the context opens new possibilities for the text to take root in us. 

One more practice is to look for connections and threads in our sacred texts; be prepared to be struck by deep meaning. I had the experience of my mind really opening up when I studied the Easter story in the twentieth chapter of the gospel of John. “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,” has a lot more meaning than that it was literally dark. I was blown away to look at all of the deeper meanings about darkness and light, and how John connects this to it being a new creation, pulling the threads from Genesis and the creation story. God separated the darkness and light and created day. Mary in the garden makes connections to the garden of Eden.  Exploring the words for “seeing” in the Greek, there are three ways of seeing: literal sight, seeing as understanding in your mind, and seeing as faith. These discoveries significantly brought new life for me.   

Sacred scripture, the living word, always moving me deeper in my faith and living as a follower of Jesus. Seek, Knock, Find! Not a bad approach to allowing the word of God to come to life! Be curious, explore, look again! 

“Being confident of this, that God who began the good work within you, will bring it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

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