If you know me well - you will know just how much I get nourished by the Bible and get excited by it. That's true at all sorts of levels - but the biggest thing for is that often it just "spins me out" and nourishes me at a level much deeper than I could ever put words to. In a whole range of ways the words and story I find are life-giving words and a life-giving story. It nourishes and sustains me - not in a simple way - some of you will have been around with me struggling with what I find in the Bible, maybe last week, maybe 10 or 15 years ago! (I still remember some ripper arguments from when I was 16 - must confess that sometimes it was in an honest attempt to understand what I read there, sometimes from a need to have an argument ... mmm ... has that changed! Actually I think I am much less likely to argue for the sake of arguing - thank God!)
But it is very true that I find much life in the Bible.
So at the moment what am I reading?
At a Bible reading group I'm part of that meets twice a month we've been reading thru Jeremiah. Poor guy - had it hard.
Also in the middle of reading thru the gospel of John with some people - the Jesus of John is very differently portayed than the Jesus of the other gospels - it's been striking me how he's on about people understanding what "real and eternal life" is.
And personally, I've been trying to read thru the Sermon on the Mount - but I haven't got passed the Beatitudes. Been reading them in different versions and reflecting on them for a few weeks now. So here's that passage from The Message (this is what he taught his climbing companions, "those who were appreticed to him, the committed"):
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
You're blessed when you are content with just who you are - no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.
You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full', you find yourselves cared for.
You're blessed when you get your inside world - your mind and heart - put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.
You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you deeper into God's kingdom.
Words about what true life is about