As I was preparing for tomorrow’s sermon and reading (yet again) the story of the Resurrected Jesus appearing to the two disciples on the Emmaus road on the first Easter, I kept returning to the idea that the Risen Lord spends the bulk of his time with them “opening the scriptures” — showing them the ways in which those texts (what we would now call the “Hebrew Scriptures” or “Old Testament”) made plain the ways in which Messiah would have to suffer and die. In fact, after Jesus was “made known” to these two followers “in the breaking of the bread”, they asked each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us as he opened the scriptures?”
The more I read that story, the more I became convinced that my own engagement with the Scriptures has lately been more utilitarian than devotional. Certainly, I have read the passages appointed in the Daily Office Lectionary. Of course, I read the passages assigned for the coming Sunday. But what I’ve been lacking is an ongoing saturation in the story of the Scriptures — sometimes I speak the language of organizational development with more fluency that the language of the Bible. In fact, I found myself thinking, “Isn’t marinating in these texts my first and foremost job?” After all, what good is a teacher who doesn’t avail himself to the opportunity to learn? Beyond that, how do I plan to practice the cure of souls when my own soul isn’t regularly nurtured from the stream of stories we call the Bible?
As I thought about it, I figured it had been years since I had simply read the Bible cover to cover (a regular practice in my previous denomination). In fact, I haven’t intentionally engaged in this undertaking since I’ve become an Episcopalian. So…no time like the present!
I posted an invitation to read the Bible “in course” — from one end to the other, including the Deutero-Canonicals (often called the Apocrypha) on my Facebook page a few days ago. I have a few takers. We’re going to do this task in 120 days and we’re beginning on Monday, May 9. We’re inviting anyone who would like to participate to join us. This isn’t a study per se, though we may discover we want to do that. I may post some of the things I think about as I do this reading, but I’ll be working more from a reflective than instructive stance. I’ll be reading from the New Revised Standard Version, but if you want to play, any version you have on hand will do. Here’s the first week’s worth of reading. I’ll hope to post the full schedule later this week. I hope you can join us! Happy reading!
May 9: Genesis 1-9
May 10: Genesis 10-19
May 11: Genesis 20-26
May 12: Genesis 27-34
May 13: Genesis 35-42
May 14: Genesis 43-50