This week my sister and I went to the theatre; we saw a wonderful production of Romeo and Juliet.
There were a few scenes that caught us off guard, however, as the staging brought to light some things that we had either not seen before, or had not thought of it in that way. (One example was in the allusion to the death of Benvolio; another in presenting the apothecary as a plague doctor).
During our journey home, as we discussed the performance (recognising we are not Shakespeare scholars!) we mentioned a few times about what we liked, and what we'd either missed in previous readings, forgotten about, or simply hadn't thought about it that way before.
I wonder how often these questions would arise if we were to consider the scriptures with such enthusiasm and intention? How many nuggets of interpretation and comprehension might be found by simply taking our time to read carefully the text, trying to put ourselves into the story to better make their teachings come to life for us?
In the past few weeks, preaching on the parables of Matthew, I have been trying to re-read these messages form the lens of "What have I not noticed before?" In the parable of the sower, why is the attention on the seeds and the soil, instead of on the extravagant sower? In the weeds and wheat parable, why would a farmer allow poisonous weeds to permeate the family's foodstock, convinced that it was an act of conspiracy? In the Kingdom of heaven parables, why do we not focus on the intended audience of the kingdom, rather than the plethora of analogies?
The questions continue, but the practice is what stays with me. It's a starting point for personal reflection, group discussion, bible study. When we read the scriptures, especially those that are familiar to us, we are being invited to seek out the new learnings, the new ideas, the new AH-HA! moments. For there is always opportunity to find something new, if we're only humble and willing enough to ask: What did I miss? What else can I learn?