By Bishop Doug Fisher
Posted Jan 25, 2020 at 3:01 AM
What do you think is the most important verse in the entire Bible? Not your “favorite verse,” but the “most important verse?” People of faith will have many different opinions.
My seminary professor, Michael Himes, said it is Luke chapter three verse one, and I agree with him.
In the 15th year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod the ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to a man named John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
That is the most important line in the entire Bible because it tells us that our faith is not a fairy tale. It is not “once upon a time …” It is not “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …” No. In this time and in this place the word of God came to this person. Our faith is based on God’s story joining our story here on earth. Our faith is real. Our faith may be mystical but it is not abstract.
God who reveals Godself to John, and to the Hebrew prophets before him, and to Jesus and Mary and the apostles, that God continues to offer us guidance through the Spirit here and now. The Spirit has not retired and moved to Florida. The Holy Spirit is still with us.
In your life, what is the Spirit saying? Where is God leading you? Especially, if you are in a spiritual wilderness, how is God present to you now? How is God’s love present to you now? And as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, says so clearly “if it is not about love, it is not about God.”
What is the Spirit saying to you in this time and place and what is the Spirit saying to the Church and to society? There is so much good in our world. I see so many small and large acts of kindness and generosity. But we must also ask this question. “In 2020, when we are in a climate change crisis, when immigrants are unwelcome, when wage disparity is at an all-time high, when racism and anti-Semitism continues, when 100 people a day in the United States die from gun violence, what is the Word of God saying to the Church in the wilderness?”
Here is another really important Bible verse. “Be not afraid.” It is written 365 times in the Bible. The challenges of our age are great. But the Spirit leading us is even greater. Our faith is real and so is the work to be done in God’s name. Luke 3:1 tells us so.