Thursday, July 05, 2007

Acts 8:26-40

Do I understand what I am writing? How can I, unless someone guides me.

When I read today's scripture it was interesting to me how Philip initially struggled with trying to understand the meaning of the words written in a particular passage, yet then he did not even begin to hesitate with his willingness to evangelize and share the sacrament of Baptism. He proclaims the good news about Jesus to the eunuch, even stopping his chariot at the first sign of water so that he may be baptized. I know for me, reading and interpreting the words would probably be less stressing than actually spreading the word.

The Bible often seems confusing and sometimes people try to interpret the words to fit their particular needs rather than looking for guidance from above for understanding the essential meaning. In the book Gödel, Escher, and Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid the author Douglas Hofstadter highlights the fact that mathematical symbols can have multiple interpretations depending upon their mapping to the physical world, but they can still only have one meaning as determined by the theorems and axioms of the system. I think the same is true for God's Word. There may be many different interpretations for what we read in the Bible as to how it might fit into our everyday lives; but there can only be one true meaning. The words are not there simply for us to read and interpret; but to actually inspire meaningful actions that are consistent with God's purpose for us. It is that second part that presents the greater challenge, yet Philip enthusiastically lets his actions speak much louder than the words that he has read.

Do I understand what I am writing? How can I, unless someone guides me.

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