Where Hearers Become Doers

Little Rock Scripture Study Connections Archive | Forward Email Facebook Pinterest
Little Rock Connections: The Good News for Today
November 2017

Where Hearers Become Doers

Where Hearers Become Doers

By Mickey Edwards

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only….” (James 1:22)

At a recent RCIA meeting we were discussing what strengthens our faith. There were the typical answers: “my prayer life,” “the Mass and sacraments,” and “seeing how people live the Gospel.” And then a sponsor said, “My Bible study group strengthens my faith—in fact, it’s because of them that I’m here tonight.” He explained that several years earlier someone in his Little Rock Scripture Study (LRSS) group turned to him and said, “You’d make a great RCIA sponsor!” “I wasn’t even sure what RCIA was,” he laughed, “but I found out, and here I am!”

That story is just one example of many ways that good Bible study nourishes the faith community. Let’s take a look at three of these, drawn from my own years as a Little Rock participant, facilitator, lecturer and coordinator. 

First, at every Mass participants in Scripture study bring the fruits of that study to their encounter with God’s Word. They have learned about how the Church reads the Bible, the text in its context, the cultural setting that shaped it, the purpose of its author, and the community to which it was addressed. Alone and with others, they are accustomed to reflecting on how the Word of God impacts their daily lives. At home they can turn to a good Catholic study Bible to enhance their understanding of the lectionary readings.

One year our group studied the Passion and Resurrection Narratives from the Gospels during the final weeks of Lent and the beginning of the Easter season. At the concluding session we marveled at how the Word of God—grown almost too familiar in the Lenten, Triduum and Easter liturgies—had come alive for us in a whole new way! 

Second, as illustrated by our RCIA sponsor’s “call story,” Scripture study inspires participants to recognize their own (and others’) gifts to serve the faith community. They become active in liturgical, social justice, and faith formation ministries. Some identify an unmet need in the parish and launch new ministries, like a welcome home program for returning Catholics, or Bible study for the sick and homebound, or a prayer group for college moms.

This sense of mission extends well beyond the parish. In a LRSS group that has met for over three decades (known as Bread, Book and Brethren) the members decided some years ago that they needed to make outreach to the poor a regular part of their study of God’s Word. So they now take up a collection each week to support a literacy program in Honduras started by the grandson of one of their members. And when they complete a study, they donate all the no longer needed books and study guides to prison ministry.

When I look at the ministerial “family tree” in my parish I can see a direct link from Scripture study to social justice study (the JustFaith program) to the Laudato Sí reading group to the new environmental ministry. The seed of good Bible study yields an abundant harvest.

A third important role played by parish Scripture study programs is integrating new parishioners into the community. One winter evening as a “vintage” Thursday night Little Rock group gathered to begin a new study, they were joined by a much younger couple new to the parish. The couple had met and married abroad and the pregnant wife was shy and not confident of her English language skills. Of course this only endeared them more to the smiling grandparents around the table!  The bond of understanding and acceptance within the whole group grew strong as they shared their faith over the weeks.

There were always snacks and sweets at the final class. As the date approached, one participant sent an e-mail to all but the new couple, proposing a surprise baby shower in place of the usual party. And so it happened—complete with a baby-themed cake and gifts, including a hand-crocheted blanket, worthy of a cherished grandchild. A few months later the couple welcomed their Bible study friends to their home for a party to celebrate their son’s Baptism. Perhaps they would have settled into the parish without the hospitality they experienced in their Little Rock group. But I believe their encounter with “hearers of the Word” who had truly become “doers of the Word” made all the difference.

Mickey Edwards works in adult faith formation and spirituality. She is a Little Rock facilitator at St. John Neumann in Reston, Virginia, where she is also active in RCIA, environmental ministry and prayer shawl ministry. She first encountered LRSS at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, D.C. whose “Bread, Book and Brethren” takes pride in being the longest continuously meeting parish Bible study group in the archdiocese.

National Bible Week is November 12-18. It also happens to be the 25th anniversary year for the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). Take advantage of our free resource to use during that week, Nourished and Strengthened by God’s Word, to explore what the church teaches about the Bible in paragraphs 101-104 of the CCC. Our thanks for Clifford M. Yeary who wrote the materials for individuals or groups to use.

Haz de la Semana Nacional de la Biblia, 12-18 de noviembre, un tiempo de aprendizaje y reflexión. Utiliza nuestro recurso gratuito: Alimentados y Fortalecidos por la Palabra de Dios.
Make plans now to pull together a group of friends during Lent and after Easter. It will be here before you know it. Just three short, and powerful, sessions for each volume of Alive in the Word: :

Lent, Season of TransformationLent, Season of Transformation, by Amy Ekeh, invites us to turn over our very hearts to God so that genuine transformation happens within us. Amy is an instructor in the Catholic Biblical School in the Archdiocese of Hartford, a retreat director, and a freelance writer whose work appears in St. Anthony Messenger, The Bible Today, Liguorian, Magnificat and Catechist Magazine. She has also published That Mighty Heart and In Every Life, collections of her blog posts.

Easter, Season of Life and FireEaster, Season of Life and Fire, by Barry Hudock, helps us to explore that “most joyful space” in the church’s calendar, the season of resurrection culminating at Pentecost. Barry is the author of Struggle, Condemnation, Vindication: John Courtney Murray’s Journey toward Vatican II, Faith Meets World: The Gift and Challenge of Catholic Social Teaching, and The Eucharistic Prayer: A User’s Guide and has also contributed articles to America, Commonweal, Our Sunday Visitor, and US Catholic. He serves as Publisher, parish market, for Liturgical Press.

For more information about workshops, Little Rock Connections, or to offer suggestions, or submit items, please contact:
Little Rock Scripture Study
PO Box 7565
Little Rock, AR 72217

Little Rock Scripture Study

Little Rock Scripture Study, PO Box 7565, Little Rock, AR 72217-7565
Liturgical Press, 2950 Saint John's Road, PO Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321
Phone: 1.800.858.5434 or 320.363.2213
Buy Online: littlerockscripture.org
© Copyright 2017 Little Rock Scripture Study, Little Rock, Arkansas. All rights reserved.

Are images missing? View the online version.
To ensure delivery to your inbox, please add newsletter@littlerockscripture.org to your email address book.
This message was sent to {{{email_address}}}.
If you received this email as a forward, we invite you to subscribe
If you wish to UNSUBSCRIBE from future email promotions, please click here.
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE. Replies will not be read or forwarded for handling.