We do Dwelling in the Word during our mission trips and choose one text each year. Last year we did “Feeding the Five Thousand.” This year we did the “Transfiguration.” We had two churches gathered, and for people from Harbert (my church) Dwelling is a common practice. For our friends from Kansas, Dwelling was more than foreign. I tried to narrate the practice and invite them in.
After the second day, one participant simply stopped joining the group for devotions (Dwelling). This was quite unfortunate for the group. One of the Harbert participants asked him why he wasn’t coming and his response was, “we read the text once, I get it – now let’s move on.” Juxtapose this with a story from yesterday:
During Bible study I accidentally prepared for a text that had been explored when I was gone to Kenya (John 5). It was clear within the first minutes that I was about to repeat something our women’s group had already engaged and I felt somewhat bothered that I was on a different page than everyone else. As I apologized for my misunderstanding, one faithful 80+ years old member of the group said, “Well, we read other texts multiple times around here, we can do it in Women’s Bible Study, too – there’s more than one meaning in every text.” this juxtaposition settled me – and I am grateful for how Dwelling in the Word expands our biblical imaginations.
Dwelling in the Word is expanding Harbert’s love and appreciation for Scripture. This has been true in almost every place I have been, especially in seminaries. Seminary students find Dwelling in the Word so refreshing amidst a world that is still scientifically dissecting/explaining texts, and Dwelling welcomes them to living with the text. As I write these few snippets, floods of stories are coming to me from the many years I have been practicing and sharing Dwelling in the Word. Thanks for the gift.
Peace to you,
Kyle J. A. Small