This year we start off the year by reading the Gospel of Luke and Acts in January and February. It is our prayer that the readings from those two books from the New Testament will shape our mind and heart to become a church that moves with a gospel-centered missional spirituality.
Then starting in March, we will plunge into reading the poetic and wisdom literature of the Old Testament: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. The books of Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are often grouped together as “wisdom literature.” They complement each other by providing a more rounded perspective on some of life’s big issues. Whereas the book of Proverbs commends righteous living in order to enjoy God’s favor, the book of Job explores the case of someone who is exceptionally righteous but suffers greatly. Whereas Proverbs conveys the idea that God blesses those whose lives are marked by integrity rather than by falsehood, Ecclesiastes highlights the disillusionment we feel when we observe the lack of moral order in the world; since the wicked appear to prosper and the righteous seem to suffer, what advantage does a righteous person have over the wicked? Whereas the book of Proverbs seeks to inculcate consistent, righteous behavior, the book of Job and Ecclesiastes look to avoid a simplistic interpretation of recurrent pattern of life. It is our prayer that the readings from the wisdom literature will shape our lives to embody the gospel-centered wisdom.
The two main books of poetic literature are Psalms and the Song of Songs. Although both books are poetry, they are very different. While the book of Psalms is a collection of 150 songs devoted to worship of God, the Songs comprises a series of interconnected stanzas of two lovers for one another. Set
side by side, however, the Psalms and the Songs are vivid reminders of the significance of relationships for human existence. The Psalms emphasizes at length the importance of the divine human relationship. By way of
encouragement, the intimacy of human love in the Songs illustrates indirectly something of the passion of God’s love for people. The one who designed male and female for intimate union is the very one who desires to live in close and harmonious relationship with them. Human love is to be an illustration of divine love. It is our prayer that the reading of the poetic literature will shape our lives to embody missional spirituality out of intimate relationship with God and with one another.
We will end the year by reading three books of the New Testament: 1 & 2 Thessalonians and James. 1 & 2 Thessalonians will help us to end the year by reflecting about what it means to live a life and be a church that moves with a gospel-centered missional spirituality. James, which is known as the wisdom literature of the New Testament will help us to tie the wisdom from the Old Testament to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
May we be a church that is shaped by the Word of God, marked by the wisdom of God, and moved by the gospel-centered missional spirituality.
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