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JourneyNote: Road Trip Realization

What making music and reading scripture have in common.

Posted July 16, 2023 in Religious Institutions

Dear friends and stewards of the Heritage Program,

My travels this past month did not include any official “Bible Business” but rather some personal trips that added up to nearly 3,000 miles and 40 hours of windshield time.  I love road trips—alone on business, with family for special occasions, or with friends to fly fish out West.

The most recent trip I made was of the latter variety—fly fishing with some of the very finest friends a guy could hope for.  We had so much fun talking, laughing, listening to music that the 14-hour drive to/from Red Lodge, Montana felt like a quick drive to my local grocery store.  We broke up the drive by camping out under the stars just south of Madora, North Dakota—an interesting little town, to be sure!

By the time the three of us rolled into the gravel driveway of our friend’s cabin in Red Lodge, we were ready to pull on our waders and start casting flys into Rock Creek—just a few feet from the deck of his cabin.  Over the next few days we fished multiple streams, hiked Hellroaring Road, drove Beartooth Pass, and even wagered a couple of bucks on pig races!  But the moment I’ll remember most was when our host sat down at his baby grand piano and dared me to pick up his guitar.

For context, I played guitar pretty regularly during the first 20 years of my pastoral ministry.  But when I stepped into the Senior Minister role at Wayzata Community Church, the guitar went back into the case only to emerge on very rare occasions over the next 18 years.  And to be clear, I was never very good—I was more a song leader than guitar player, just banging out the chords:  G, C, D, A, D, G, C, D, A, D…

Holding my friend’s guitar, carefully tuning each string, and then strumming a rhythm with one hand in sync with the chords formed by the fingers on my other hand, I had a moment of great discouragement:  I couldn’t remember any of the 100’s of songs I had once known by heart!  Without daily practice and frequent performances alongside other musicians, the song within me dissipated, fading into obscurity.

Upon reflection, I realize that our relationship to scripture is much like that of guitar playing or making music of any kind.  Unless we are in the practice of reading the Bible daily…and frequently engaging it alongside other faithful people…the song of scripture can also dissipate and fade into obscurity within our hearts and minds.

The theme of this issue of “Sharing the Word” is ROAD TRIP.  You will read about:

  • the way the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible is traveling around Connecticut through the ministry of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, CT.
  • how Dr. Bob O’Connor has taken the Heritage Edition on the road for more than a decade to as many as 30 different institutions in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Hawaii, and more.
  • and even how you can take road trip of your own to 12 different locations that host the Heritage Edition across the U.S.!

But at the start of every new day…no matter where you are…it’s critical to remember that our engagement with and transformation through holy scripture depends on our daily discipline and frequent putting into practice what we read therein.

This summer, may God bless you with a Road Trip of your own.  Whether you walk to your backyard or drive 4,000 miles to Red Lodge, Montana be assured that the God of the universe is at your side and the gift of sacred scripture is awaiting.

Sharing the word,

John Ross Signature

Rev. Dr. John F. Ross

Executive Director

The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program

Rev. Dr. John F. Ross, Executive Director
Rev. Dr. John F. Ross, Executive Director










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