I have to confess; all those wonderful things I said a while back on how I would write more regularly and post things and share my thoughts and concerns about the world and all that — That didn’t happen quite the way I wanted … which one can see by the overwhelming neglect this site has experienced over the past several months (I am amazed at the tremendous outpourings of posts from other bloggers on a near daily basis. How do you come up with all this all the time? Do you do any other job? Is this your career? I’m impressed!).
Don’t feel too bad for me, yet. There are been other areas of my life wherein I have been falling short, chief among them has been my daily pondering of the mysteries of the universe and the Kingdom of God. Try as I may, I seem to allow other things to slip in to take the time I used to make to read the Bible and pray and prepare for the day ahead. You know how it goes. You are going along fine for months at a time and then, BOOM, one day, either your partner brings it up or you notice on your own that this one little things needs to be taken care of. Look, it’s not such a big thing, it won’t take more than a couple of minutes to handle. After you are done, you can go back to your little devotional thingy. So, OK, you reason, you could do that, and off you go to handle the two-minute thing which, in accordance with Murphy’s law, the 7th correlation, takes a lot longer than you expected, and before you know it, your devotional time is gone for the day.
No worries! You say. There is still tomorrow; and the next day may find you back in your old routine of reading and/or prayer. No harm, no foul – except that the momentum of the previous six months is lost and the next time something comes up it is easier to justify putting off your time with God to take care of this other stuff. And the next interruption shows up sooner than the last and it is easier to take care of and, before you know it, you have just stepped onto the slippery slope of laxitude (patent pending). It is merely a matter of time when the hour (or whatever) you had set aside for reading and prayer is given over to working on the budget or prepping the To Do lists for the day or fixing and packing lunches for the household or feeding the dog or whatever you do, and your time with the Lord is a thing of the past.
So this last Easter Sunday, I opened the e-Sword application on my laptop, found the scripture readings for the day from the Revised Common Lectionary on the internet and read through all the suggested passages. I then took advantage of the Journal editor that comes with the app and preserved my thoughts about the passages for posterity. In the midst of all this, I thought of a wonderful plan to divide the lectionary readings for the next Sunday over the course of the week and jot down the thoughts I would think regarding each of them. Good Idea! Right?
It was a good idea, except that my follow-through didn’t make it to the two week mark. I slipped back to the budget-breakfast-feed the dog routine once again. So much for that.
Then early this month I considered something truly revolutionary. What if, I thought, I could get the e-Sword app to randomly select a verse for me to ponder for the day as my devotional? Now, before I go on, let me explain why this was so world-shatteringly innovative. For pretty much all of my life I had all but flat-out rejected this approach to Bible reading for an extremely good reason:
Only little old ladies and crackpots read the Bible this way
- There is the problem of being truly random; whenever a physical Book is opened, the place where it lands is never “random.” Most of the time it falls open near the places it is most familiar with and to which it is always open. A person who ponders Psalm 23 for 20 years, for example, will find their Bibles opening pretty much all the time to the early part of the Psalms.
- Even closing eyes and putting your finger on the passage doesn’t work because people tend to return to a certain part of the page, unless you were methodical about rotating around the page which, again, cancels out true randomness.
- No true scholar of the Bible (of that noble body of high-minded thinkers I considered myself to be a part) would ever consider going through the Bible this way. We are far too methodical and logical for such silliness.
But then I had to consider the following rebuttals to my argument:
- The e-Sword app indeed has a feature that allows the whole application to display a random verse every time it is opened. One point shot down!
- Eye-closing and finger-pointing is also taken out of the equation because, well, the verse is already selected … and it’s random … it could be anywhere, from Genesis 1: 1 to Revelation 22:21.
- When was the last time I ever did anything even remotely resembling scholarly? The closest thing to serious study I’ve done in the past six months is whether or not to see Jurassic World in an IMAX Theater.
- Besides, I only made up that line about little old ladies and crackpots.
So I set e-Sword to choose the verse for me and I began to journal my own thoughts about what I was reading and how it applied to my own life and, lo and behold (!) I was getting good stuff from it; not only in my wonderful writing style, of which I’m sure you all agree (pause for laughter and applause), but also in the truths that the readings revealed. That’s when I thought about the possibility of posting them to this site.
To Be Continued …
By the way, if you don’t have a Bible Software application for your computer, check out e-Sword at http://www.e-sword.net/index.html. It’s free!