Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Refreshing Biblical Times

Every few years, I read the entire Bible as if it is one book. Beginning with Genesis, I continue on through Revelations. It is a practice I began when I was just five, before anyone taught me that I was supposed to understand what I read before I read it. Perhaps that first experience of reading something that I couldn't understand very well prepared me to ignore my teachers much of the time, which is what I usually did at least until I became a wise teenager. They didn't make much sense and most of them didn't seem to konw God (my litmus test for wisdom). I tried to take the knowledge they could impart and use it to go my own way - I wasn't an easy child.

I strongly reccomend reading the Bible in this fashion as well as studying particular books, reading the lessons in the Divine office, reading and rereading particular, perhaps favourite passages - as well as reading Scripture any way you normally would. One finds the Bible is exciting, more exciting than any novel. It's a history of God's relationship with His people. The Bible shows us so much about them and how they are just like us. It is filled with human beings who are as wicked as we are, as good as we are, significantly better than we are - we can see that we are God's people; He has chosen to continue the story in our lives. The Bible belongs to us and we would be wise to listen to what God is telling us through it.

I am a very fast reader and usually make it through the entire Bible in a month to six weeks. Because my illness affects memory, concentration and other cognitive functions, it will probably take me two years or more this time - I began sometime last year and am only now at Isaiah. That seems to be a blessing because my limited focus is on one chapter or less at each reading and new things jump out at me, old favourites reveal new depths. Isaiah is one of my all time favourite books. A portion of the chapter I read this morning seems quite timely so here it is. Read and be refreshed. May God bless all those who come here.

[12] "I, I am he that comforts you;
who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
of the son of man who is made like grass,
[13] and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth,
and fear continually all the day
because of the fury of the oppressor,
when he sets himself to destroy?
And where is the fury of the oppressor?
[14] He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
he shall not die and go down to the Pit,
neither shall his bread fail.
[15] For I am the LORD your God,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar --
the LORD of hosts is his name.
[16] And I have put my words in your mouth,
and hid you in the shadow of my hand,
stretching out the heavens
and laying the foundations of the earth,
and saying to Zion, `You are my people.'"
[17] Rouse yourself, rouse yourself,
stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk at the hand of the LORD
the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk to the dregs
the bowl of staggering.
[18] There is none to guide her
among all the sons she has borne;
there is none to take her by the hand
among all the sons she has brought up.
[19] These two things have befallen you --
who will condole with you? --
devastation and destruction, famine and sword;
who will comfort you?
[20] Your sons have fainted,
they lie at the head of every street
like an antelope in a net;
they are full of the wrath of the LORD,
the rebuke of your God.
[21] Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted,
who are drunk, but not with wine:
[22] Thus says your Lord, the LORD,
your God who pleads the cause of his people:
"Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
the bowl of my wrath
you shall drink no more;
[23] and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
who have said to you,
`Bow down, that we may pass over';
and you have made your back like the ground
and like the street for them to pass over." (Isaiah 51:12-23)

1 comment:

Sibyl said...

I have been sustained and held together by the wonderful book of Isaiah and lately it seems to speak about the times we are undergoing. I loved reading that the Assyrian would be defeated in chapter 31:8-9.

The furnace of affliction is in Jerusalem. It is for the church to be purified and refined into silver and gold. We must be crucified, disciplined, trained to become His and like Him.

You remain in my prayers.

As you journey in suffering and affliction, He is with you.

He is more tender, more watchful than a nurse or mother, closer than a brother, stronger than a father, wiser than doctors and priests, more powerful than mere petty presidents and kings.

Jesus is never dying, never failing, never leaving, faithful, true, loving, eternal, Mother, Brother, Father, Doctor, Priest, King and Lord... Forever and ever, world without end. Amen.