This past Sunday several people asked me to write something about finding Jesus in scripture. I call my process learning to SPELL. Each letter stands for a part of the system. Here is an explanation for each.

Study scripture regularly. Read the New Testament. Starting at the beginning and reading through to the end is a nice exercise but probably a waste of time if you are going to find Jesus. Instead read the letters written by Paul in this order: Galatians, Philippians, First Corinthians, Romans, Philemon, First Thessalonians, and Second Corinthians. These are historical documents and the only letters truly written by Paul in the New Testament. They were also written several years before the gospels. Then read the gospel of Mark and the gospel of John. They tell us about Jesus, who he was and what he did. You can make some intelligent decisions about Jesus based on these readings. From there read Acts and whatever else interests you.

Pray. I don’t care how you pray or how often you pray or where you pray. There is no right or wrong way to pray. Sit in silence, say the same thing over and over, or just talk. Try it in the shower, the bathtub, in church, in bed, in the car. It doesn’t matter. God is listening. God will become obvious to you at some point.

Attend Eucharist regularly. Come to the altar rail. Receive the gift of Jesus Christ. It’s cumulative. One day you wake up and recognize that through your regular attendance at Eucharist you have been changed in a very fundamental way and that Jesus Christ has become a very real part of your being and life.

Look around for the signs of God’s presence. They are there. They only need discernment. It could be anything, a billboard, a person, a window, the movement of a tree, something that answers a question you have been asking, a question that has been on your mind. What you encounter may also be something that touches a part of you in a way that is special and has brought beauty into your life.

Even more importantly, look behind you into your past. God’s impact on your life is often more visible when we look behind us.

And finally listen to those around you in church. Listen to their stories. Where have they found God? Is God plainly in view for them today? What does that look like for them? How has it or is it changing their lives? Have they ever been through times when God wasn’t evident? How did they handle it?

Come and see. Discovering and learning about Jesus is worth the effort.

Blessings for your trip. Bill