“Bind them as a sign on your hand …” MennoMedia Board chair goes literal

In early September, I preached a sermon in my congregation on Deuteronomy 6:4-9. That scripture was chosen to kick-off a series on core Anabaptist scriptures.

A parallel Sunday School class is using MennoMedia’s Bible study guide, Dig In: 13 Scriptures to Help Us Know the Way. The Deuteronomy scripture includes commands from God to keep God’s words constantly before us, even tied onto our bodies and written on our houses. In the spirit of those instructions, I tied a ribbon around my wrist during the sermon. I told the congregation I was going to wear this verse, and add the remaining scriptures as I preached on them this fall. And I have done so.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInitially, I liked the tangible connection between me and God’s word. I liked seeing the ribbons as I went about my daily routines, recalling the scripture and meditating upon it. Such a visible prompt calls me back to my Christian faith, to my baptismal vows, and to my intentions to follow Jesus. This is especially helpful when I’ve strayed off the path, and I’m thinking or acting in unchristian ways.

As the ribbons multiplied, however, I got a little bothered by them. They get in the way! They slow me down. They don’t always match my clothes. They’re a bit fussy. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 slipped off my wrist into the washing machine, emerging wrinkled and dripping but intact at the end of the cycle. Romans 12:9-21 disappeared completely and had to be replaced.) To simplify, I capped the bracelets at four, with multiple texts on each one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo what’s the point of “digging in” to core Anabaptist scriptures? First off, it provides a base from which to explain biblical interpretation from an Anabaptist perspective. Each family of Christianity has a unique understanding of Jesus, a particular shade of meaning about his gifts to the world. Focusing on these scriptures helps to ground ourselves in an Anabaptist understanding of Jesus.

Secondly, God’s word does get in the way, or it should! There is wisdom in the Deuteronomy counsel to have an intimate and embodied relationship with God’s word. God’s word, for all its complexities and puzzles, does help us to find our way, in a confusing, over-stimulated and unholy world. Like traffic lights or GPS voice commands, God’s word warns us of dangers and orients our spiritual direction. The Bible offers true signposts, guiding us we walk in the way of Jesus.

MennoMedia’s mission is to provide resources for living Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective. Dig In is one small but significant way we are acting on that mission.

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Melissa Miller, MennoMedia Board chair

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How do you stay connected to God’s word as you go about your daily routine? Any practices, such as Melissa’s, that you’ve tried in order to “write them on your doorpost”? P1030367Jewelry? Special T-shirts? Other? We’d love to hear your experiences or see your photos. Send to melodied@mennomedia.org

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MennoMedia has just announced Dig In in Spanish, as ¡A Escarbar!. See more here.Or to purchase, go here.

Dig In includes video interviews with persons across the U.S. and Canada telling about their experiences/thoughts around the various scriptures. See more about Dig In and find a link to one video, here.

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