JULY 21, 2022
I grew up in a small farm town in Georgia called "Woodstock."
We had a big wooded back yard and a creek that ran through it. I would play by the creek; jumping across back and forth back and forth. I’d climb to the top of the hill where Eubanks Road butted up to our property. There was a stop sign there and that’s the spot people would throw their beer cans and coke bottles out into our woods. I’d collect them and take them down by the creek and line them up and shoot them with my BB gun.
Georgia boy. I know.
One of my favorite things to do by the creek was to take the time to turn over big stones and see what was underneath. There would be big centipedes, lanky earth worms, and little round rolly pollys all squirming about. A whole ecosystem; a whole world at work in the soft Georgia clay was going to go undiscovered if I didn’t stop and flip the stone over.
What does that have to do with Biblical hermeneutics?
Because I think about that creek-bed so often as I spend my Tuesdays locked away in my study of Scripture. My responsibility as a preaching and teaching pastor is to stay childlike in just about everything I do. Every week I face the temptation to get too serious, too grown up, too academic, or worse, too self righteous, and when I do any of those things, my faith dries up and I can no longer trace the hand of my Father or sense the nearness of the Spirit.
So every Tuesday I make my way into my study not as “Pastor Alex” or “Dr. Early” but I go back in my memory and try to find the head space of that ten year old boy on a hot, humid, summer afternoon in 1990. I am responsible to playfully and curiously kneel down in the creek-bed of God’s Word. Once I’m there, I am to slowly, imaginatively, carefully, and expectantly start turning stones over; stones that are shaped like words, phrases, syntax and grammar and history…. and as I turn over these stones it is within minutes that I find myself in the world of wonderful world of God’s word – it is alive with “creeping things” (Gen. 1:26) all moving around and my responsibility is to take it all in! The creek-bed hermeneutic keeps my imagination and emotion engaged in study. The creek-bed is where I’m present to God, myself, the world, and even the earthworms.