A man who was sort of despised by the local community when I was a parish minister in Thurso , used to visit me in the manse. After settling himself down in the chair signalling his intention to stay for a while, his opening question was always the same: “ How are you getting on with the bible then minister?” That was a good question but it was preparation for him telling me how he was getting on with the Bible! He had an old tattered Authorised Version with tiny print which he treasured. His reading skills were as poor as his eyesight. He had no bible reading aids apart from a dictionary to look up words he did not understand. God still uses the “foolish” and despised things of the world to shame the wise. Usually I felt a bit agitated as I knew the uncomfortable moment would come when I would have to usher him out the house and get one with other things, but as I did so, I would be left chewing on an insight I had never seen…
It is now early morning. I slept well and hope you are still sleeping as I write! The robins woke me up followed by the blackbirds, just as “Springwatch” said would be the case! Whenever you read this, I ask you the question:”How are you getting on with the bible then?” I just read a text from someone who said that yesterday they had looked back over their journal and it was pretty dark. They shut it and picked up the bible and were refreshed as their Father in heaven spoke words of light and love to them.
I love doing my blogs and vlogs and chatting back and forward on Facebook Messenget etc., but nothing refreshes my soul like the Bible. If it has become dry as dust to you, let me share one of the most powerful prayers I have learned to pray:”Lord, renew my relationship with your Word.” Even preachers need to pray that from time to time for their own soul’s sake.
I read a good thought in H. Nouwen yesterday. “Often we think about the word as an exhortation to go out and change our lives. But the full power of the word lies, not in how we apply it to our lives after we have heard it, but in its transforming power that does its divine work as we listen…it is in the listening that God becomes present and heals…it is a word to heal us through and through, and in, our listening here and now…At first this might sound quite new for a person living in a society in which the main value of the word is its applicability.”
Right now, before I listen to the Bible, I am listening to the robin and the blackbird speaking into one or two concerns I am carrying, saying, “Don’t worry. Your Heavenly Father knows.” Maybe you also need to make time to listen to these feathered preachers and messengers that Jesus told us to listen to, as well as listening to the bible as you open it!
May your “listening” today be truly blessed with transforming “presence” and grace.