Friday, June 01, 2007

Reading the Bible together

I have read through the Bible a few times in my life -- over a year or two -- but this week I participated with my church in reading the entire Bible in less than a week. Last Sunday the first verses of Genesis were read in our sanctuary at noon as the third worship service ended and the final verses of Revelations were read last night during a worship service where the leaders of our church made our commitments to be a part of the future of our congregation. What a powerful week.

Jon had Tuesday off and so he and I were able to read together. Our congregation read through the Chronological New Living Translation of the Bible, which was a first for me. This takes the entire Bible and puts it in order of when the stories happened, when the poems were written, when the prophecies were spoken. It was amazing. Jon and I read some great stories about King Saul and his son Jonathan. We were so moved by this experience that we decided to sacrifice a little sleep to join in again. We didn't quite calculate correctly the time it would take to read the Bible aloud while involving children, young adults, families, those new to the Scripture and those who have read it for 50+ years. So Wednesday night I volunteered to come in from 9:30 - 11:00 p.m. to fill a gap in the schedule. Amazingly about a dozen other folks showed up during that time and so I only read for about 15 minutes of that hour and a half. What a gift to sit and listen to the Scripture being read by brothers and sisters in Christ. Some voices were clear and strong, very familiar with the Gospels they were reading. Other voices were hesitant and stumbled over names, but continued on. All read and heard The Word of God. Our pastor reminded us that for centuries, until the printing press, this was the way that the Bible was passed on from generation to generation.

Jon helped fill the 4:00 - 6:00 a.m. gap Thursday morning. That meant he was up at 2:00 so he could do his morning work-out routine before heading to the church to sit and read through more of the Gospels with our pastor who joined him. Last night I was so moved to hear my friend Rosalis reading the second to last chapter of Revelations and finishing right at the strike of 7:00 p.m. when the final worship service was to be held. We heard the final chapter of the Bible read by four members -- a child, a young woman, Jon, and an 80 year old woman. All in attendance read the final verses responsively.

What a gift -- to share this Book with each other. All week I have heard and participated in conversations about stories we have read that week -- from the Bible. I have joined in conversations about theology and doctrine because so many of us had been diving into the Scriptures together. It took all of us to read through the Bible in 5 days and it takes all of us to live the Christian life every day.

Thank you, God, for calling me to the body of San Clemente Presbyterian Church, I am so blessed.


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