These reflections are an invitation to read the Bible in a variety of forms, and as a loving dialogue between God and humanity.
‘Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.’ (St Jerome)
The Spirit of God breathed in Jesus. It came also to him in the breath of the people, the breezes which played over the lake and land of Galilee, in the work of field and flock. He felt it as the Spirit of His Father in loving and eternal dialogue with all humanity and creation. It lay recorded in every word of Scripture and read by Jesus as a dialogue inviting all to share as sons and daughters of God.
These reflections are an invitation to read the Bible in a variety of forms, and as a loving dialogue between God and humanity. The word ‘dialogue’ in this context is shaped by a spirit of mutual listening and faith-sharing both internally and externally in terms of relations with each other, with other Christians, members of other religions and all humanity. The Catholic Church’s synodal process has enshrined dialogue as one of its core attributes.
This broader meaning of dialogue is in turn enriched by applying it to our reading of the Bible. The Bible records the self-revelation of God and this then ‘reveals’ or removes the veil from who we are as human beings. God is defined as a partner in an intimate, loving dialogue. Creation is shown to be the ‘first book’ of the revelation of God. ‘Dialogue’ brings us to the idea of the Trinity as the everlasting dialogue-dance of perfect mutual loving self-giving of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Humanity and the whole of creation shadows or mirrors this dance right here – the dance into which we are invited now and hereafter.
Christians often bring to the reading of Scripture pre-packed definitions of God, the Trinity, Jesus Christ and the whole story of creation and redemption. Reading the Bible, with fewer prior ideas aligns us with the experiences of its authors. They were led into the mysteries of the divine which are beyond all human powers to describe fully. This is ‘experiential’ as opposed to purely intellectual knowledge. We ‘experience’ the truth of something in the heart, and the head then attempts to record and make sense of the conversation.
Christians read the Bible as partners already immersed in the loving dialogue of the Trinity. ‘Heart speaks to heart’ from the first instance of every human existence. The mystics bear witness to this irreducible presence of God in each human heart. Julian of Norwich spoke beautifully of ‘Our Lord God who has in us his homeliest home and His endless dwelling’. We exist within a personal love story of our dialogue with God, with all its brokenness and betrayals, which finds deep echoes in the story of the people of God recorded in the Bible.
We bring to the Bible, an experience of belonging to, and of being part of, the whole human family, and of being an integral part of the whole created universe – as ‘earthlings’. Dialogue with this exterior environment and with the ‘invironment’ is already an intertwined encounter with the Divine. And it draws us on to a fuller friendship in the continuing dialogue of love. The Bible provides a mirror where we find a reflection of our own face and our own world. The God revealed by the dialogue recorded in the Bible, connects with our experience of the God whose home is within our heart and whose presence is affirmed in every atom of creation.
Who Are These Reflections Aimed At?
These reflections are aimed at anyone who wishes to engage more deeply with Christ through the Scriptures, and to enrich their participation in the Lectionary cycle during Mass.
They are a helpful guide for those who:
Read, teach and preach in church, whether as Readers; Catechists; Formation, Prayer and Study group leaders; Liturgists, Social Justice activists; ecumenists and clergy.
How To Begin?
This is the method called ‘Lectio Divina’.
You can find more information about this method here:
David Jackson, now retired, worked in secondary and adult education, first as a priest and then as a married family man. He was the first Coordinator of the Bradford Interfaith Education Centre and Inspector for RE and became the Inter-religious Relations Coordinator for the Diocese of Leeds. An on-going fascination with the concept of dialogue experienced in interfaith relations led to these reflections on the readings of the Sunday Lectionary, ‘Dialogue of the Heart’. He ‘graduated’ as a Laudato Si Animator in 2020 and advocates care for ‘our common home’ and support for all who work for justice, peace and non-violence.