Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Immersed in Scripture
Monday night as I listened to the Bridegroom Matins service being chanted I was struck. One principal objection protestants have with Orthodoxy is that we don't rely enough on scripture - "sola scriptura" - just the Bible ma'am. Of course, anyone who attends Bible study, reads a devotional book or listens to a pastor's sermon has violated sola scriptura - we all rely on something as a guide for interpretation - whether it be the holy fathers who lived at the time of the apostles, the fathers of the reformation, or modern day worship leaders and preachers. The thing that struck me was how completely immersed we really are in the scriptures. Bridegroom Orthros is just over an hour service. In that hour, we prayed 9 different Psalms, listened to one Old Testament reading, several summaries of parables Christ told, and 2 Gospel readings. In the morning at the Presanctified liturgy, there will be 22 Psalms read. The liturgy of the church is mostly a combination of Psalms, passages from the Old and New Testament, litanies requesting prayer for the church and the world, and ancient hymns that are typically based on the Psalms and other scripture passages. Nearly every word the priest utters comes from scripture. So while we may not have as many Bible studies, if we are immersed in the life of the church, if we attend the cycle of services regularly, we are singing and praying the scriptures constantly.