This morning I sat around a table with other believers. We read selections from the Psalms. Out loud. Together. My usual morning custom is to sit with the Holy Spirit, read silently, and pray silently. But while I am at a retreat this week the morning prayers and readings are shared in community.
As we read the passages together I heard the sound of my voice mix with the voices of others. Up from the wooden floor and off the brick walls the sounds blended into one reading. The “others” were people I has just met minutes before but we shared a common devotion to Jesus, and in this morning exercise we shared the experience of the scriptures together. As we fell into a common rhythm I had a curious sense that my voice was not only joined with the five others at the table but with all those who had read these verses in the past.
Whenever we come to the scripture, we partake of the word of God with others. Some passages from the Psalms are perhaps 3,000 years old, and since the Holy Spirit first inspired the words, believers have been sharing the same meal. Whether we sit alone and drink with our eyes or gather around a table and raise our voices, the community of the Kingdom is present.
The Bible is available to us on-line, in print, even on the screens of our cell phones! We scan the verses and speak them silently to ourselves. But the earliest experiences of the scripture were oral and aural. The Word of God was held captive in scrolls until someone took a scroll, unrolled the parchment and spoke the word. He still longs to spoken in community.