year of bible – in the beginning…

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So, here we are – a week into 2014 already. How have you used your first week? Not trying to show off…but I’ve welcomed our second daughter into the world. Not a bad start, eh?!

As I promised, this post will be a reflection based on a week of reading through the bible. I want to use this as a marker for myself and perhaps a useful resource for others who are interested in the same concept. It’s vital in my mind that we treat the bible as a coherent whole, although it can be fairly incoherent at times…I suppose what I mean here is that we don’t just pick and choose bits that we like, but that we try to get a sense of the narrative that might be at work behind the text we hold in our hands today.

So, firstly the details.

7 days of reading.

19 chapters of Genesis – Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Soddom and Gomorrah…
7ish chapters of Matthew – birth, magi, baptism, sermoning on the mount..,
8 Psalms – awe, wonder, anger, depression, guilt, rage…
2ish chapters of Proverbs – wisdom and sound bites galore…

So – what stuck in my mind this week?

I guess it was the inevitable – the focus on new beginnings. What with Genesis and the birth of Jesus, alongside the arrival of my new girl…well, yeah, inevitable is probably the best description.

Whether you’re a literalist or not, you can’t help but be struck by the wonder of creation. However it happened, I think we can agree that those key words, ‘and it was good’ littered throughout the first chapter are inspiring. Inspiring in the sense that it causes us to step back and contemplate what we see before us – outlandish beauty and yet the brutality of ‘nature’. I include the latter part of that sentence because I can’t help but think that one of the things we Jesus followers are called to do is to be amongst those who see the hopeful in everything. Not in a naive, blind faith kind of way, but in a way that grits its teeth and says, ‘I’m going to work to bring hope and see the potential in every thing I come into contact with’. I want to be someone who sees what God declares as being good and joins in with him in declaring that over that which seems broken.

Of course, the beauty of reading of the arrival of Jesus alongside the creation story is that we see God at work to put it all back together again. We see within a paragraph in Genesis how what is designed as beautiful becomes broken, and how we are invited to bring light into this world. That’s what I want to be part of through seeking to follow this Jesus guy. He arrives on the scene and gets straight into the business of turning his world upside down. He loves and he challenges and he stirs and he doesn’t blink. He stares down injustice in whatever guise…especially that caused by religion.

And so I’ll continue to try and figure out what that looks like to a 21st century British school teacher. Probably the same as it meant to a first century fisherman or rabbi.

The scene may have changed, but the script certainly hasn’t…

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