Exegesis; its what preachers do. It means to pull meaning out of a text, to interpret it. My grandmother was great at it. She had an elementary school education but she was the greatest theologian I ever knew. She could make a Bible story three dimensional. When she talked Bible you could hear Scripture breathe. Exegesis is about recognizing the life that lives on pages filled with ink. It is about giving stories legs, feeling colors in poems, and hearing dead prophets speak.
I love exegesis. I am a privileged man in that a great deal of my time is spent in the ink of exegesis; surrounded by books listening to Scripture breathe. I do for a living what my grandmother did with her life. There is nothing like that “aha” moment when you finally get it, when after three days pages become three dimensional and walk into the room. The Bible is alive.
But there is exegesis of another sort. There are times in which God turns people into pages and writes all over them. These are the times when as a pastor I feel most helpless. You are there to lend people strength and they are looking to you. Little do they know you are actually reading them. People become pages. God writes all over them.
“So this is what hope looks like.” “Aha.”
It is seeing Romans 5 written in the eyes of parents while death plays with their baby. Exegesis occurs just down the hallway when a little boy with black curly hair dances to music he cannot hear. Hope. It is watching as a hundred people bow before God, each of them prostrate canvases, their tears ink, each word a narrative that explains the meaning of prayer.
There are times God turns people into pages and writes all over them. Texts dance in hallways, lay in beds, play with death, and bow before God. Helpless preachers can only read them. The world is full of theologians.