Life Chez Dee Episode #105: Exploring Scripture
The title of this week’s Lent Course was Exploring Scripture. We can read the Bible, but we need to do more than read, we need to hear God.
We were a bit thin on the ground this evening, with a few engaged in another church meeting, and I missed them. We began this evening talking about which sport we enjoy playing or watching. I’m not really a lover of doing or watching sport if I’m honest. I used to be obsessed with going to the gym before I had the boys, I’d be there 6 or 7 times a week … I was really fit. Then I had the children and my fitness regime waned, and now, except for walking, is non-existent. I did try and do couch to 5K on two occasions actually. Edward used to keep me company, either running, or skating, or on his bike. He’d tell me how slow I was, and how rubbish I was compared to Justin, and how I looked like I’d be heading straight for a lie down when I got home! Really encouraging! I love walking, but that’s not really a sport … well some do do walking as a sport, looking rather silly with their wiggle as they fast walk.
I suppose if I were to choose a sport to watch it would be swimming. I loved watching all my boys swimming, right from when they were beginners, through to them swimming competitively. I loved watching Edward as he took part in several Triathlons. I love watching competition swimming when it’s on TV, and I loved watching this when the Commonwealth Games came to Manchester, and we managed to get tickets. All this you will note is my enjoyment watching, as opposed to participating. I may know all the theory given that I’ve listened to all the coaching the boys have had over the years, but my swimming capability is a few lengths breast stroke with my head out of the water!
We talked about what we followed up on from last week. I’ve now downloaded an app on my phone so I can listen to a reading and ponder a thought each day. I really think this might be something which (once working) I might just stick at. Justin needs to sort out the technical support for me though so that I can play the 10 minute podcasts when I’m out and about on short car journeys – so that’s his action for the week.
We talked about which character, verse or book in the Bible is our favourite. 1 Corinthians 13 was the piece I thought of, all about love. We had this reading at our wedding, and also again at Edward’s funeral. There were lots of favourites shared with the group, including Moses, Luke, and the book of Ruth, but my favourite was the creed: “Love one another as I have loved you”. We should love one another, and we should also remember that we are loved too. This really spoke to me, and I'm going to try and keep this with me this week.
Our next little tasklet for this evening was to take a postcard sized piece of paper and cut out a shape to represent our week. I cut out a broken heart. I’d had a rough weekend, with some horrid and hurtful comments made to me, which in turn prompted me to write a piece about what not to say to those who are grieving the loss of a child.
We were asked to place our shapes down and light a candle. I didn’t have my candle this week, but I decided to put my broken heart under the desk lamp. I was working in Oliver’s newly decorated bedroom, which was rather a novelty for me. We listened to some music, which I wasn’t that keen on if I’m honest, but some of the words jumped out at me: Jesus be my source, be my light, be my hope, be my song, be the fire in my heart and the wind in my sails.
We talked about how, when we read scripture, we should frequently pause and reflect; words of scripture connect to God in a personal way. We discussed Lectio Divina as a way of reading scripture. This is where we read the passage three times, and after the first reading, underline words and sentences which jump out to us, say something to us, mean something to us. We would discuss our thoughts after the second reading, and then after the third reading, we would think about what it means to us, what we should do now, and what is God saying to us personally.
This is where I start to worry about how reading does nothing for me. And yet, I look through the course notes, and I have underlined, and scribbled, and circled, words and sentences. My pencil scrawls are all over the page. I'm not what you would call a reader, but if the snippets I do read speak to me, then I really feel those words in my heart and soul.
Kim talked about how all scripture is God breathed. It tells the truth, stops us from making errors, corrects our faults and shows us how to live for God; it can help us, teach us, guide us comfort us, and even tell us how wonderful we are if that is indeed what we need to know and hear.
I wonder if when I begin to hear the podcasts from the app I’ve downloaded, whether I will begin to hear God. Maybe something will start to shout out at me each week. I don’t know if I’m forcing things in trying to read or listen to something each day, but I will give it a go. I know when something comes through to me loud and clear, because I completely soak it in. Music, lyrics, songs, hymns all speak to me. The words, the tunes sometimes just pop into my head, out of nowhere, and yet there they are. I totally absorb that which resonates as I am, or as I need to be. Have I already found my way of connecting? Is this God speaking to me?
At the time of writing this I’ve now opened the book I’ve been loaned. I read the thoughts on today’s date. It was entitled Why character matters. Only one line on that page jumped out at me: “God, help me to realise how much what I do affects other people.” This is the second snippet I'm going to keep this with me this week.
I think going forward I need to listen more. Listen to what is being said. With prayer we must not only talk to God, but also listen for an answer, and it is the same with reading scripture, we read and try to understand what is being saying to us personally, this too is a conversation with God. I am beginning to understand a little more, I have action plans, and although I may not action everything I plan to do, I need to stop giving myself a hard time for not doing all I’d planned or all I felt I ought to do. I am thinking and reflecting and giving my time and my thoughts to God, and that is enough; I am enough.
By Elizabeth Dee
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