" We who long for the renewal of the Church need to long also for a renewed engagement with Scripture, which in turn makes possible a renewed intimacy with God in Christ."
--Christopher S. Webb of Renovare
This bit came at the end of Webb's Fall 2008 pastoral letter, which focused on how a fresh engagement with the Scripture has characterized "every key period in the grand narrative of grace," both throughout Scripture as well as more modern history. Webb isn't talking about simply reading for knowledge but actually engaging with it. There's more than one way to do that (Webb explores lectio divina in particular--read more here), but the point is to allow "Scripture not only to increase our knowledge of God, but also to entice us into deeper relationship with God."
I appreciate Webb's call. I desperately long for God's people to be who they are called and enabled to be. And Webb reminds me that that our relationship with God is key to any renewal the Church will experience. And that it comes down to the everyday, simple choices we make in encouraging each other to do the things that are in our power to pursue that relationship and open ourselves up to God's transforming grace. Engaging with Scripture is simply one way to do that.
Webb closes his letter with another apt reminder: "Read to know, but even more--read to love!" As we grow deeper in our relationship with God and in trust that he is who he says and can do what he says, we find ourselves changing. And part of that, as Webb reminds us, is that our love and desire for God himself grows. And that can't help but affect our relationships with each other. As we begin to walk in and experience God's love for us and our love for him, we begin to love those around us. That's how it works in the kingdom. The two go hand in hand, two peas in a pod. The greatest of all commandments under which all else falls.
Sometimes, I can get pretty overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the Church's need for renewal; I appreciate Webb's reminder of how we get there.