God Briefly
by Reverend Daniel England

February 1, 2018

This past Sunday I was surprised (and humbled) by having over 30 of you crowd into the parlor for the initial six week Bible study about the gospel of Mark. I think we've found a way to get another 10 chairs into that cozy room, so there's no reason for others not to join us.
I was thinking about why people come to a Bible Study. It's not hard to figure
out. It's the same reason why people read books, or go back to for another degree, or read the paper, for Pete's sake. It's for content and context.
Look, for a lot of people, religion or faith is background noise. It is more experiential than intellectual. It is the half-remembered sentiment of childhood. But for those, like many of you reading this, who get up on Sunday morning and come to church for the bracing combination of friends who you know you can
call on when you're knocked off course, for music that stirs a your soul, and for words that offer a break from the usual banalities of weather-and-sports-and-aches-and-pains-and-office-complaints-talk, you want more for your faith than fluff. Faith in God, a walk with Jesus matters to you. They're not incidental to
your living; they're essential.
So I shouldn't have been surprised by the turnout. These are smart people who want their faith to go beyond feeling to content. They want reasons to believe. They want substance. They know some of the teachings of the Bible, but they want to know the specifics, which is where, in any endeavor - physics, business, driving, bee keeping, whatever - the joy lies.
My mother's favorite verse in the Bible (hers, the King James version, of course) was, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not
to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
And so together we study, and learn, and after not very long, find ourselves stronger and better, with a more complete grasp of what is essential for living
in Christ.

Reverend Daniel England
Interim Senior Minister
The First Congregational Church of Ridgefield, Connecticut