The latest thematic direction for one of our congregation’s Bible classes is the study of supposedly lesser characters in the Scripture. Two enduring realizations: There are lots of these men and women. And they are definitely not “minor” in any way.
Rev. Paul Olson, retired pastor and continuing biblical scholar, leads the class. His process involves two major elements: ❶ Unearthing significant facts and connections about biblical characters presently unknown to most of us. ❷ Offering questions that provoke sharing and witness about current life situations.
Newly uncovered historical details—let’s say, about Ehud, Bezaleel/Oholiab, Shiphrah/Puah or Rhoda—astound us with their significance in the larger scriptural landscape. The personal sharing? Wandering through typical conversational paths, these thoughts reveal the deep wisdom and faith of class participants. We leave the class both amazed and heartened.
Something else—something significant and comforting—also arises from these discoveries and discussions: The realization that today’s “minor” players in the ongoing drama of God’s actions in history might also be examples for our own lives. The women and men of God sitting around those Bible study tables are themselves strong evidence that God’s Spirit is still working—inspiring, motivating, inviting, equipping. We are today’s minor characters in the ongoing revelation of God.
This truth spills into many other areas of congregational life: Altar guild members, anonymous caregivers, volunteer landscapers, Sunday morning greeters, already-wise teens, formal leaders and joyful staff members. These significant ripples also extend out into the surrounding communities: Business leaders, faithful/capable employees, diligent students and their parents, medical and educational professionals, retired members filling community volunteer roles. Like the presumably marginal characters in the Bible, each of us has a place in the larger scope of God’s work.
None of us has a minor role!
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