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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: A Lamp Unto My Feet
 

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  September 11, 2018 --

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105 

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Psalm 43:3

One of the most common titles given to the earliest Christians after the Resurrection was “followers of the way”. If we also are to be followers of the way then we need to be able to see where the way is and where it goes. How do we do so? The psalmist tells us that God’s Word is the light which shows us the way. The Word is presented to us in our reading of scripture, in our listening to scripture being read, by good preachers expounding God’s Word from the pulpit, and by the Holy Spirit revealing the Word to us in our hearts.

In a sense, the term Word is a misnomer, in that we need to read or hear more than just a single word or a single sentence in order to find our way. We should study all of scripture, and a great deal of commentary on scripture to be truly enlightened by God’s Word. In the words of Thomas Cranmer [slightly modernized]:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

One error for some people is to take a short phrase from scripture and try to use it to justify a theological position while completely ignoring the context of that phrase. This is called proof texting, and has been the cause of much religious contention and strife over the ages. But to truly understand the meaning of any scriptural passage we need to put it in context. We need to see not only the literal meaning of a passage (what it says or seems to say), but also the historical setting (who said it, to whom was it addressed, how was it understood at the time, and what was the background at the time it was written). Then we need to compare it with other scriptural passages, so that we can get a fuller understanding. Only then will we see the light that shows the way.

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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