It is said that a new habit or a change of habit needs at least three weeks to become embedded into your lifestyle. As I write this letter we shall have been exploring the first “Holy Habit” of engaging with the Bible for five weeks and by the time you read this, it will be seven weeks.
Have you been inspired to change any of your habits with regards to engaging with the Bible? Or to start up a new habit? This is not some kind of spiritual guilt trip - I know that many of you already engage with the Bible regularly, thoughtfully and prayerfully. I also know that many of us seem to have far less time and energy than we would wish for in order to be able to engage with the Bible more. But sometimes we need to be asked- have you made any changes to your usual “Bible habits?” Do you feel the need of a change but are not sure how to go about it? Did you once try a more vigorous approach to the Bible but found it all too much and gave up and this has discouraged you from trying again?
The early church was composed of Christian believers who read and discussed their scriptures together. They needed the “bedrock” of a history, a tradition, an inheritance of faith to reassure them that they were not—as many supposed—mad. They were not deluded. They were not simply in search of some personal “feel-good” experience. They were part of a long line of people who had searched for God and who had discovered that God was searching for them. Much of their scripture was hard to understand because it had not been “sanitised.” The writings of angry people, confused people, heartbroken people were all included but this was what made the scriptures real and believable. They were about ‘people like us” and a God who believed in “people like us.”
The scriptures also put Jesus Christ into an historical context. He was not some crazy self-taught guru who had appeared from nowhere proclaiming himself to be divine. For centuries, prophets had gradually come to understand that if God were to come to earth, then He would come as a man like Jesus Christ and not as some political emperor waging war on all who stood in his way.
So the first Christians read their Bibles carefully and prayerfully. In time they added their own Gospels and letters so that the story of faith could be passed on. If we are to be strong in our faith then we need the solid support of engaging with the Bible on a regular basis.
Here is another reminder of some online resources:
The URC offers a Daily Devotion—reading, reflection and prayer, based on Walking the Way. Sign up at bit.ly/urcdds.
Read through the Bible in one year with Bibleinayear.org
Word Live is part of the Scripture Union family and offers several different daily reading programmes www.scriptureunion.org.uk
The Gideons website offers a free app to download with the Bible in many different languages and their invaluable “where to find help when…” guide, plus much more.
If you are not into online resources, then why not look through our Church Library on a Sunday morning after church in The Link?
The Christian bookshop in Pratts Bottom also have a good selection of Bible reading material
If you feel the need of company, then why not join one of our Housegroups
At our recently re-started “Solace” worship sessions on the second Tuesday in each month, we frequently use what is called the Lectio Divina, a practice of reading a few verses of scripture—usually from one of the Gospels — slowly and meditatively, allowing the words to speak to you, identifying and praying through one particular phrase or sentence in which you discern a message for you. (It really works!)
God bless, guide and inspire you as you continue in the Holy Habit of engaging with the Bible.
With love and good wishes to you all