Screening Experience

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 — Week of Lent 3 (Year One)

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 954)

Psalm 78:1-39 (morning) // 78:40-72 (evening)

Jeremiah 7:21-34

Romans 4:13-25

John 7:37-52

Can you remember times of delight or joy when it seemed like life was coming up from the midst of you and flowing all over your being? I can remember a time watching one of our children in a particularly happy and creative moment. It felt like my joy started somewhere below my belly-button and flowed through me like a warm current of energy or a rich fountain of delight.

Jesus speaks of the heart-centered joy that he invites us to experience in his Spirit. It is like living water that flows from our hearts and refreshes our whole being. It is what we experience when we know the Spirit’s presence, when we feel embraced and blessed, when we delight in the moment. It sounds like his teaching and stories affected people that way — “Never has anyone spoken like this!”

But not everyone heard him that way. There were some who had studied their scriptures and used the words there as a definition to map the future. (Not unlike our “Left Behind” friends.) They took offense at him because he was from Galilee. No prophet, and especially no Messiah was to come from Galilee. They can’t listen to him, despite the grace of his words, because he didn’t meet the expectations of their allegiance to the literal word of scripture.

We can only hear and see what the framework of our world view will allow us to hear and see. For those who knew the Messiah could not come from Galilee, who were certain because the Bible told them, their ears would not allow them to hear these words that brought springs of living water to others.

How profoundly we screen experience. Where might we be missing grace? Where might we be blind to living water flowing out in blessing and refreshment because we have a preconceived notion that such things can’t happen with those kind of people? To miss such manifestations is to miss Christ’s visitation.

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