What would you do if the bishop of your new diocese challenged the whole diocese as part of its centennial celebrations to read the Bible in a year? I know there are many out there who would say that it can’t be done and really, why bother? I must admit that I was a bit skeptical myself. The Bible in a year – that is a lot of reading of scripture, some of it just doesn’t make sense and some of it I have just never bothered to read before. Who out there wants to read all of the Holiness Code in Leviticus and Numbers?
The dear one decided that his new parish, our new parish was going to take up the challenge. There about 8 of us who have signed up to read, that includes me, the scriptures over the next year. So from time to time I am going to use this space to write about what I have been reading, noticing and learning along the way.
To keep us both committed to this year long project the dear one and I are reading the day’s selection to each other over our breakfast. One of us does a chapter and then the other does the next until we are done for the day. Takes us about 15 minutes to do it this way. It also gives us the opportunity to share our thoughts, questions and even outrage along the way. It allows us to dig deeper as we do the readings.
The dear one is also hosting a session with those that are reading in the parish about every 2 or 3 weeks for about an hour or so. It gives a chance for folks to bring their questions, their learnings and their oh my goodness-es to a group of fellow Christians. I missed the first session as I was away but I am really looking forward to next week’s session.
We have read all of Genesis – oh those matriarchs and patriarchs! – and are now into Exodus – come on Pharaoh, let God’s people go! We also have a psalm to read and a chapter from the New Testament every day. We are almost through the Gospel of Matthew and I have to tell you reading whole chapters and not just the chunks we get on Sundays give some of Jesus’ stories a whole different perspective.
What I have learned so far:
- God chooses the most unlikely, sinful, frail people to be the leaders of God’s people. Just like the rest of us who have accepted the grace of God to follow in the way of Jesus.
- Our faith ancestors liked good stories with lots of drama in them – Jacob wrestling with the angel of God, all of those plagues God brought down on Egypt.
- Jesus is really concerned about little ones and the first being last.
- Reading with the dear one is challenging to my intellect, includes lots of laughter and I really can’t wait until the next day to read again with him.
What are you reading at the moment that is challenging your faith and your intellect? Have you ever taken up a challenge like this one? If so, how did it go for you?