This is a picture of the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum just outside of Washington DC. It’s full of an incredible array of air and spacecraft, including some very famous planes and shuttles. When we went there this last spring, we only had a couple of hours to take it all in. It’s interesting to compare my wife’s instincts with mine (and this would be true in most museums we visited). If you want to know what I was doing, look in the lower left side of this picture.
I wanted to soak up as much information as possible. So, as we went through I was reading as many signs as I could. I’d look up at the plane, glider, missile, rocket, or shuttle, and then look down and read as much as I possibly could before we moved on to the next exhibit. My wife, on the other hand, wanted to see as much as possible. She wanted to soak up all the sights. And again, this was true not just at this museum, but at the art museum, history museum, and all the other places we visited. Now don’t get me wrong, I looked, and my wife read too, but my instinct was to get information and her instinct was to experience it.
When we’re reading Scripture, the same thing can happen to us. Reading the Bible is an important discipline of the faith, but sometimes our instinct is to just search it for information. And that’s ok for certain purposes. It’s good to read, break it apart, figure out what other places in the Bible something is connected to, examine how the arguments are laid our or the story is formed, but in reading for information, we can’t stop there. We also need to read for the experience of transformation. We need to be in the story, in the words, and let them form us. Read it like we’re listening to God talking to us -because he is!
To take the metaphor from this trip, we need to step back from the informational sign and really look at the exhibit itself. Remember, “God’s Word is alive and active” (Heb. 4:12)