As a New Yorker – I’ve been in Texas for almost 30 years and I can delare one thing as fact. Texans have no idea what a good bagel is.
A month ago we found a new tiny bagel place – the owners are from the “twin pizza capitals” of Chicago and New York. My friend and I got to talk with them today about how the proper, true bagel is chewy and doughy on the inside – but yet smooth and firm on the outside. The owner laughed saying many of their local Texas customers complain that the bagel isn’t fresh and that something is wrong with it.
Because they don’t know the real thing, they have accepted the faux squishy supermarket bagel as the “right” bagel. This blows the mind of those who KNOW the real deal!
Now, many analogies can be drawn to both scripture and doctrine. Most people have sat for so very long under the bondage of law, they can’t understand the freeing truth of grace.
But this parallel can also be extended to our EXPERIENCES with God. Yes, we can know God, hear God, and understand the very things of God from scriptures alone … but so much gets lost in the translation without having intimate, personal experiences or encounters with God.
NO, we don’t interpret scripture based upon our experiences, but it’s hard to fathom and apply into our lives the raw power of the scriptures without these dynamic and intimate experiences.
Paul knew God (or he thought he did) but then his eyes had to be opened to Truth with an ENCOUNTER on the road to Damascus. Paul and the rest of the world haven’t been the same since.
The disciples knew Jesus intimately, but they didn’t UNDERSTAND much of anything about the scriptures until they had a post resurrection encounter with Jesus behind a locked door. The angry Jewish elite wanted to crucify these 11 fearful men as well, but Luke 24:45 says in that experience Jesus HIMSELF “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” They left that room filled with power, purpose, strength, and clarity that shook the earth.
Encounters with God open our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds in ways that expounds upon the scriptures. No, encounters don’t drive interpretation – but these divine moments do drive us to higher understanding of scripture.
To experience God is to know God, and to know God is to experience God.
Many have had a good bagel, but they have yet to experience the fullness of what bagels truly are. Some people know there is more and seek a true bagel, and yet others are content with the bagel they have. Some are afraid to even seek bagel nirvana, and yet others complain about the bagel that’s right in their own hand. Either way, chewy bagels with a smooth, firm shell do exist.
And while people wait for their personal encounter of the Jesus kind, and the appearing of the original Bagel (yes, the bible in Technicolor) YOU have been purposed and trained to be the encounter someone else needs.
Be Holy. Be doughy. Be the encounter.