“Heart and Soul”
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
On Ash Wednesday, the beginning of this liturgical season, we were encouraged to read and meditate on the word of God. This is not formal invitation requesting the honour of our presence at a black tie, fancy-dress, once-in-a-lifetime event. Our Lord calls us to explore the Holy Scriptures on a regular basis, a standing coffee date, if you wish. Many people do such Bible Study, daily or weekly, sometimes on their own but often with a group. There are books and on-line resources on specific themes or books of the Bible. There are daily lectionaries as well, such as in our Book of Alternative Services, (Week 5 of Lent p. 461, and under Liturgical texts, B.A.S., Daily Office, on the Anglican Church of Canada website, anglican.ca). It is not simply a matter of reading the words on the page but rather wrestling with the original context and the expressed theology and considering the application of the scriptures to our lives, our church and our world. It is possible that your exposure to the Scriptures has been limited to hearing the readings during worship. During these days of quarantine and social distancing, you may find reading the Bible to be much more instructive and nourishing than you thought possible.
Have you ever read the entirety of one of the Gospels at one sitting? The Gospel of Mark is the shortest…
Perhaps you don’t have a Bible at home, or it is a lovely old family heirloom, big on sentimentality but perhaps not the easiest English to understand. There is a web site called biblegateway.com. It is a searchable online Bible, offering 200 versions of our scriptures, in 70 languages. Try choosing a passage of scripture and comparing the different versions. For example: The Parable of the Sower, Matthew Chapter 13, beginning at the 3rd verse. (Also in Mark 4:1f, Luke 8:4f) We use the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible at church. Read the account in that version and then compare it with another. You might try The Message, which is an interpretation rather than a translation. After reflection, apply the story to your own faith journey. For future reference: There are also wonderful Study Bibles available to guide you in your discovery of the Living Word!