Three different Bibles lay on couches and coffee tables that I stare at it daily. I always intend to pick one of them up and read a verse or two of scripture, but so many other things compete for my attention. For years, I have been telling myself and others that I want to spend more time with my Bible. Group Bible studies from church help some, but I’m yearning for something more. I grew up in the Lutheran church, attended Bible camp and worked as a Bible camp counselor. Through it all, I’ve been taught that the Bible is my roadmap and instruction manual for daily living.
But what would it take for me to develop the habit of daily Bible reading that is meaningful, and then scribble a reflection about it? I read only when I feel “up to it,” a Psalm here, a Proverb there, yet I can’t shake a desire to dig deeper. As a kid, I relished a good book by reading slowly, immersing myself in a fascinating story in the same way you savor a good meal. Yet, why can’t I figure out how to approach the Bible in that same way? Perhaps I’m yearning not only for a desire to read more scripture, but also for the Word of God to somehow transform my life.
Sound overly dramatic? Okay. Why not? I hear drama dominates in the scriptures!
I love tinkering at the piano and long for the day when I have one in my home, even if it’s an electric. Right now I have to drive to a location where it’s available. In my imagination, when I have a piano available whenever I want, I’ll commit the time and effort to practice regularly. In spite of the inconvenience, I derive so much satisfaction and joy from playing at a basic level. But if I did have easier access to it, would I play it more often?
Why don’t I look forward to daily Bible reading in the same way I look forward to playing piano?
What would happen if I had no convenient access to a Bible? Living in a material culture of excess and abundance has pushed me into complacency. There are Christians suffering persecution in other countries who would risk death just to obtain one, and I’m surrounded by them, yet always seem to find something more important to do.
Scripture study is hard work, and not nearly as much as fun as a Julia Cameron novel. The Bible is difficult to swallow and digest for several reasons. There’s a lot in there. Understanding the cultural and historical background of any text is only half the challenge. Even in past group Bible studies when I’ve tried to embark on this daunting task, enthusiasm for growth and discovery eventually wanes, I realize I’m not living anywhere close to the standards set forth by God. Overwhelmed, my ambitions then deflate and I pick up the most recent bestselling self-help book.
It’s time to challenge myself in the year 2012. I am not in any way suggesting that anyone who considers him or herself a Christian should do exactly as I am doing. This is a personal journey that I am inviting anyone and everyone to explore with me. Eventually I hope to create an ongoing dialogue with other readers of faith to exchange ideas and deepen my understanding of God.
I will publish twice a week, and I’ll start with Mondays and Fridays, although that might change. It will be a 400 to 500 words of something or someone in my life that I can relate to with faith, or a meditation on some scripture where I will search for meaning, dig for truth and seek out ways to find the “extra” of God at work in the ordinary of life.