This past year, we have been using a new way of reading through the Bible on Sunday mornings – a Narrative Lectionary. We began in Genesis last September and heard one of the creation stories. We heard stories of the patriarchs and matriarchs, stories of Moses and the Exodus, stories of the kings and prophets, stories of exile and return, stories of Jesus, and now, stories of the early church. We have traced the overall story of the Bible – God’s great plan to mend the universe. Some of the stories have been familiar; some have not. As church, these are our stories – the good, the bad and the ugly. Yet over and over, God’s promises have been renewed – to bless, love, and redeem the whole creation.
And the story isn’t over yet! God’s work in the world didn’t end when the canon (the books in the Bible) was closed. Our lives now are part of that great story that began generation upon generation ago. Eugene Peterson notes that when we read scripture, “we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but to see our stories in God’s.
God is the larger context and plot.”
I hope that this year has piqued your interest in reading the good news! Wondering where to begin? It’s always good to begin by reading one of the gospels. Read through a list of the “One Hundred Most Important Chapters” (http://wwwsandersweb.net/bible/ articles/100passages.php). Find a translation/paraphrase with more contemporary language such as The Message or the Contemporary English Version. Check out the Book of Faith website for resources from the ELCA at http://www.bookoffaith.org or Luther Semi-nary’s website at https://www.enterthebible.org.
One of my favorite quotations about the Bible comes from Lutheran theologian Joseph Sittler: “I believe the Christian faith because I know of no other story which in its tragedy and its pathos, its joy and its delight, has expressed life both in its disorganized and its organized activity with anything like the veracity, the vivacity, the actuality, and the ductility to all human life that characterize this story.” Wow! Let that roll around on your tongue a bit …and then read some good news!