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Still Spending the Power

In my old worn copy of Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (a Christmas gift from my parents in 1974), she describes a scene of vivid illumination.  “Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time see, knocked breathless by a powerful glance” (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, pg. 33). I had an experience akin to her illumination on our recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Late in the day, after walking part of the Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross) and visiting the Wailing Wall (the remaining wall of the old Temple of Jerusalem that Jesus knew), our group moved down into the recently opened archeological park  that leads to the teaching steps of the old wall to the city of Jerusalem.  The steps are on the south end of the “Temple Mount” just outside the Hulda Gate, which was the primary entrance to the Temple Mount in the time of Christ.  In the gathering dusk we walked and sat on the steps where Jesus sat when he taught. As I sat there in the gathering twilight, the quiet settled around me with conversely the noise of the city of Jerusalem as its backdrop.  In my pause I heard Jesus again speaking and teaching – to me personally but more than that to all of us – all seekers of the truth whether Christ followers or not.  Different passages of scripture played across my mind – “I am the Way, the truth and life.  … Love the Lord your God with all your heart …”  As I sat I was struck again by how graciously and deeply the Lord would teach us. I remember the Reveal study conducted by the Willow Creek Association.  They noted the absolutely critical importance of Bible Study and reading the scriptures regularly in deepening one’s spiritual walk with Christ. (Reflection on Scripture was the #1 factor for spiritual growth and development. See Reveal: Follow Me by Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, p. 41.) It struck me that however powerful my experience on the teaching steps was, the same power and blessing can come from letting the Lord speak to us through regular reading and study of the Scriptures. It is really is simple and basic, yet absolutely foundational.  Become a part of some Bible study groups.  Sit again this day on the teaching steps and let Christ speak to you.  As for me, I am still spending the power.