In early May I traveled to Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, for a preaching conference. It was fun to be back on the campus where I’d lived for three years, and it was invigorating to engage with scripture alongside peers. The conference was called Preaching the Verbs. It was led by two of the seminary’s preaching professors, one of whom, Anna Carter Florence, was a favorite professor of mine when I was a student.
Anna’s emphasis in teaching for the past few years has been to get students to focus on the verbs in scripture. One of her main points is that we share the same verbs with the people in scripture. Abraham and Sarah walked, talked, and prayed. We do the same. Thinking about the verbs gives us another way to enter into a text.
Another point that Anna emphasized with us was the importance of reading scripture in community. She suggests getting a group together each week to read the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. The group is to focus on the verbs, not try to write sermon for the preacher. The preacher leads the group, and the participants engage with the text and share ideas.
This is not something I’ve done much of at Grace with any consistency, so I want to try it during the month of June. Each week in June you’re invited to read scripture with me. We meet for an hour, and we read and talk about the text. I hope you’ll join me. We meet:
- Tuesday, June 2 at noon
- Monday, June 8 at noon
- Tuesdays, June 16, June 23 and June 30 at noon
We’re calling it Sermon Preview as those of you who come will engage with the sermon text for the coming week.
Speaking of scripture reading, our Disciple Class wrapped up its 34 weeks with the Bible on Thursday, May 21. For 34 weeks this group gathered for two hours each week to study scripture together. Seventeen people completed this intensive Bible Study.
One person summed up my thoughts when she said, “I’m ready for it to be over, and I’m really going to miss it.” I’ve loved co-leading this course, and yet it will be nice to have a break from the intense workload. I think Disciple is my favorite Bible Study that I’ve ever led. The daily readings and study fed me spiritually, so not only was I leading, I was growing through the process.
There is great value in reading scripture and studying it together. If you’re looking for a way to do this, join me during June.