Part 7: What Are You… Reading – Pastor’s Favorite Bible Stories – Belonging

“What Are You…” explores finishing that sentence. Through this series I’ll be finishing those sentences with …singing…listening to…and reading, getting to share some of my favorite hymns, songs, music, bible stories, and authors.

What are you reading for inspiration? The Bible!

I don’t have an absolute favorite bible story. At least not a favorite that is consistent. Each of these stories that I’m sharing have brought me inspiration, hope, and belonging in different ways and at different times. They are often the stories that I return to in my study and prayer.

I mentioned in last week’s post that as I began this portion of the “What are you” series, I had originally planned to share a few words about each of these favorite bible stories in a single post. First the trouble was narrowing down to only a handful. Then as soon as I wrote last week’s blog post, I realized that each story needed it’s own page to live on.

Samaritan Woman (John 4:1-42)

Every time the Samaritan comes up in the lectionary calendar for preaching I am so excited. I’ve preached her story so many times, and each time she comes to life on the page she shares with me something new and wonderful.

One theme I often notice with my favorite stories from scripture, the ones that give me inspiration and I find myself returning to often, are themes of feeling on the outside, unworthy, and in need of belonging.

Belonging to the one who knows

For the Samaritan woman, she’s on the outside of her life in so many ways as she comes to the well that day. Outside of her community, of the community of her Jewish neighbors, and I wonder how all that shame and suffering in her life shaped her.

But Jesus seeing her, knowing her, and continuing to reach out to her in this relationship gives her new life. She finds courage in the messiah, and runs into her community to preach and share the news.

On days when I myself feel unworthy or like I don’t belong, when my heart aches at what seems like a constant stream of exclusion and judgement in our world….it’s this story that I find myself returning to. The hope and inspiration the Samaritan woman finds when Jesus sees her, knows her, and offers her something totally new.

Next week: Radical love, inclusion, and baptism in my next favorite story from the bible!

Pastor Megan

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