As we re-sensitize ourselves to read freshly, we must be prepared to collide with many events and sayings that we will not like at all.
“This is terrible!” we will say. “It would be awful to have to think this! He can’t really be saying that!”
But he is; and our task at this point is to separate out what actually lies on the page from our reaction to it. First we must see as clearly as we can what is being said; then react to it.
“How do we react to being disturbed? Will we be antagonized and refuse to listen? Or will we feel an inner stir of excitement, and open our minds?”
The central character of this story is out to shock us, disturb us, upset us, just as he does the people in the story; and the question, with us as with them, is, how do we react to being disturbed? Will we be antagonized and refuse to listen? Or will we feel an inner stir of excitement, and open our minds?
If we come to the Gospels as we would approach a meeting with our most interesting, challenging, and sometimes exasperating friend, we’ll be on the right path for a real meeting with their central character. If we bring our full, fresh attention in the kind of open response that we would have available for the person we most want to talk to or a letter of vital importance or a book we can’t wait to read, then we will hold real conversation with the Gospels, and let them read us while we are reading them.
Then they will speak fresh speech to us.
– Mary Morrison, Approaching the Gospels Together © 1986