You will notice that I like to quote from comedians as I write and preach. I believe that I did so twice last Sunday. I like how stand-up comics skirt the edge of tragic and comic. Frankly, we Christians would do better to spend more time in both places, with different purposes in mind.
Something comic Pat Dixon said stuck with me: “I’ve never read the Bible, but I believe it. It is like one of those long license agreements you see on the Internet. You don’t have to read it. You just scroll down to the bottom and click, I AGREE.” I remembered it because it is clever and funny, and because it correctly describes the relationship of a great many of us to the Bible.
I mention this because over the past couple weeks someone from our church mentioned that she is still using the 2013 Connecticut Bible Society Daily Bible Reading Guide we distributed at the beginning of 2013. That seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Seriously, I was heartened that some of our people are sticking with it, grateful for a guided approach to this holy book, which is not so much a book as a library. Funny what a daily dip in the Scriptures can do to alter our perspective over time. So I want to ask, are others still making that reading journey? If you are, congratulations and well-done! I would love to hear your frank impressions. Please share.
If you got lost along that way, I want to encourage you to pick it up again, to revive your efforts. It would be pretty unusual, if you are unaccustomed to daily Bible reading, to maintain an unbroken string of days. So get over feeling guilty or like a failure, and dive back in for October. We still have more of the pamphlets located by the narthex table, near the prayer request box.
Spirituality gets peddled in society as spontaneously feeling deep and lofty emotions, as some “infinite beyond” naturally wells up to overcome us with captivating mountaintop moments. We imagine a few gifted people are like that. And we call them “spiritual people.” Oh, brother! I for one don’t buy it. After 35 years in the ministry, I am quite sure that spirituality is more about eliminating bad habits which naturally creep into our lives, and kick starting the good habits which can seem so long to “take” and become part and parcel of our faith and character.
So if you feel discouraged with your Bible reading, prayer, calling upon and caring for others, give yourself a break. Leave the sentimentality behind, as though this is supposed to be easy. Frankly, it isn’t easy for any of us. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. Our willingness to not give up, and to press on cultivating good practices is the truest inner test.