The Bible is usually the last thing I want to face in the morning. I lie in bed in the early dawn, that netherworld between darkness and light, my phone in my hand, teetering between clicking on Facebook and clicking on my Bible app. By Anne Kennedy I grew up nurtured on the understanding that your morning “quiet time” in God’s Word is as important as a good breakfast. If you want to grow in body, mind, and strength, you have to face a bowl of oatmeal and your Bible before you do anything else. Now, at the age of 43, I don’t eat breakfast anymore because I’ve finally given myself permission not to bother. But the Bible—in the quiet before my children come shouting through my bedroom door—I shouldn’t give up. Facing and resisting the Bible But first I check Facebook, real quick, to see if I have any notifications. And then I turn on the Bible—because now it’s read to me, the voice of God joined to the voice of a man plodding, verse by verse, through the Bible—and try to stay awake. The trouble for me is that the Bible is overfamiliar. I’ve read through it dozens of times—sometimes slowly and painfully, sometimes briskly and thoughtlessly, more and more audio rather than visual—and so I know what’s coming. I know, as I trudge through Judges, that the Levite’s concubine is just over the horizon. I know, as I relish David’s triumph over Goliath, that, just around the corner, his own son is going to brutalize his own daughter. I know that I’m going to become thoroughly depressed in the middle of Jeremiah. And when I get to the cross? To the long prayer of Jesus in John’s Gospel? My finger hovers over the app while I wonder if I’m going to be able to face—all over again—his death. So sometimes, too often, in fact, I click away, or go back to sleep and avoid it with my whole body, soul, mind, and strength. For those who have never faced the Bible, I would expect the resistance to be just as great, though for different reasons. The language—no matter what translation you try—is unfamiliar. The world of the Bible is ancient, far removed from the dizzying pace of modern life. The people have complicated and difficult names. There are different styles of writing. As you are flying along through…
It’s 6 o’clock. You shuffle into the house, not even bothering to take off your shoes before plopping down on the couch. Is it too early to go to sleep? you ask yourself. By Jennica Stevens But then you remember all the things you still have to do, and you groan. There are a million text messages to respond to. You have to prepare lunch for tomorrow. The kids have dance practice. The thought of doing even one more thing—whether it’s cooking, cleaning, or taking the dog for a walk—is just too much. All you want to do is sit and do nothing.
Growing up in the ’90s, I was bombarded with messages of self-worth 24/7. Almost every pre-teen Disney movie or Nickelodeon TV show bedazzled itself with the same tried-and-true message: Be yourself! Don’t let anyone dull your shine! By Hannah DeMarco It all sounded nice, but it seemed at odds with another message I received from well-meaning Christian adults in my life: You’re sinful! Who you are is inherently evil and corrupt! As a kid finding her place in the world, I didn’t know which voice to believe. I kept wondering, How am I supposed to be myself if myself is bad? I prayed fervently for God to make me pure. I longed to be good and honest and without blame. And I thought praying and reading my Bible would make me worthy in God’s eyes.
You wake up, hopeful and ready for a new day. But as you check the time, you see you’re already late for work—and you haven’t even showered yet! It’ll be okay, you tell yourself. You’re determined to have a good day. On your way to work, the traffic is worse than ever. Once you make it into work, you hear that your coworker is leaving. On top of that, several of your favourite projects are being taken away from you. It’s still okay, you say to yourself. I’m okay.
“May the Sunday of the Word of God help his people to grow in religious and intimate familiarity with the sacred Scriptures.” This is Pope Francis’ hope for this day he instituted in his Apostolic Letter published on September 30, in the form of a Motu Proprio of the Holy Father Francis, “Aperuit illis”, instituting the Sunday of the Word of God. Stressing how essential it is for Catholics to familiarize themselves with Christ’s written word, Francis highlights “a day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event.”
There’s something I’ve noticed when I get together with old friends to talk about days gone by: we remember the same events differently. By Mark Giacobbe Sometimes these differences involve discrepancies that beg to be resolved. But usually they involve different perspectives; different angles on the same event, with each person contributing a part of the whole that none of us possesses alone. We see in part, and we need one another to fill out our picture of the world. I believe this is why there are four Gospels. Through the multiple perspectives of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, God has given us four views—four portraits—of Jesus and his work in the world. Each author has a distinctive voice that tells the story of a multi-dimensional Jesus.
One clue that a fictional character has become truly influential in a culture is when that character is known by people who have never read the novels or seen the films in which that character first appeared. Many people know who Sherlock Holmes is even if they have never read a word of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about him. By Joseph Bentz The fame of Mickey Mouse goes far beyond any particular cartoon in which he has appeared. People know of Harry Potter and Darth Vader even though they may have never read the Harry Potter books or watched the Star Wars films. Some characters, like Santa Claus or Barbie, did not even originate in a particular text but still have cultural influence worldwide.