There are two things to note for this week.
Don’t forget that this Sunday is a combined service at 8am followed by a vestry meeting. Electronic copies and hard copies of the Vestry reports have been circulated ahead of the meeting.
2.BIBLE READING WEEK
For the fourth year in a row we will be reading the Bible out loud from Genesis to Revelation as a church. This was first done in the week leading up to the dedication of the new All Souls church building in 2011 as a way of affirming the importance of scripture to our church community.
For thousands of years scripture has been a source of life and learning, delight and deliberation, challenge and contemplation. All of scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). We may not understand how it all hangs together. We may not be able to reconcile all the tensions and paradoxes in the texts. But engaging with the whole of scripture is profitable to us as individuals and as a faith community.
Testimonies from the hundreds of people involved over the years in our Bible Reading Week show scripture to be living and active by God’s grace and through the Holy Spirit. By reading it out loud, participants have been struck by things hidden to them before. Reading large passages or whole books has enabled people to get glimpses of a much bigger, sweeping narrative often lost in the sound-byte texts of quiet times or the lectionary.
I would encourage as many people as possible to come sit on our church veranda this week and read a portion of scripture out loud. There is a spread-sheet to sign to keep track of who has read what. (If you come after hours, the church will be locked but you can use the bathroom down by the Children’s Centre if nature calls.)
Come take up the invitation of Psalm 1 to delight in the Torah (instruction) of the Lord. You will be like a tree planted by streams of living water.
Or as St Jerome wrote, “QUI SACRARUM SCRIPTURARUM TESTIMONIIS ROBORATUS EST, IS EST PROPUGNACULUM ECCLESIAE” (He who is fortified with the testimonies of scripture is a bulwark of the church). I saw this on a cover at All Saint’s Stanger on Sunday. Beyond this my Latin is limited to ET TU BRUTE.