"When evening comes, you say, 'The weather will be fair, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times!
Every day, millions of Christians sit in circles, gather in churches and living rooms, and interpret the Bible. They unpack and cross-reference poetry, stories, songs, and historical narratives. They sit around, imaginatively exegeting the bizarre imagery of Revelations the same way young artists in an MFA program wax poetic in a crit circle as they dissect a work of art.
Christian culture sits within a millennia-long stream of dazzling hermeneutics. The inheritance is mind-boggling. But the question is, how can this incredible cultural mechanism of interpretation open outward and apply itself to a life beyond words?
Jesus marvels at our near-sightedness and goads us to read life, not just ideas.
Art and its ever-changing vocabularies deepen our reading of the world and the signs of the times to which Jesus refers. For instance, in dance, we see and know life through a body. In contemporary dance, dance created in response to our times, we see the life that we currently live on display as we witness the spirit of our unformed moment taking shape in the muscles of an artist's movement. The process is incarnational, miraculous. It may not make sense, but it is a sign of the times. The question Jesus continues to ask us is, can we read it?
When our hermeneutics are directed toward the world and employed, holistically, not as a self-righteous critique, but as an ongoing spiritual discipline of love, we will recognize the interconnectedness of our story. I learned this from my five-year-old son. When I told him he should cherish his brother because he only has one, he responded, "Everyone on the block is my brother." His reading was more precise and more creative than mine.
He interpreted the world with love.