This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Open or turn on your Bible

Recently, I was reading the feeding of the five thousand souls in the accounts of John chapter six and two images kept coming repeatedly—feeding the soul and feeding the body.

Somehow, John makes a connection with the Red Sea narrative using images like the hillside, a crowd that was starving and without the means necessary nor the a place where to buy sustenance and in addition, John also makes a connection with the Passover celebration. As one reads both Biblical narratives, the crossing of the Red Sea and the feeding of the crowd, one is able to connect the dots that John intended.

As I was preparing supper for my family and getting ready for my Bible study, a text made its way in into my telephone device; the texting communication came from my daughter. She was greeting me and asking, “What is for supper, Dad?” Proudly, I responded with a full description of the menu.

The phone texts kept coming soliciting more information. Until a different way of communication appeared in my phone to which at this point I did not know that I was the recipient of such capabilities for such type of communication. It was a Face-time request!

As all champions in communications do, I click a button indicating that “yes” I want to facetime with the person requesting to see me and hear my voice. After a few minutes into the video conversation, I realized that my daughter was Face-timing me from her room. I decided to end such technological time and have a face-to-face chat instead.

A few minutes later my son walked into the house. I greeted him and then I begun showing off my new technological knowledge; he just smiled and patiently waited until I was finished. Then he asked me a question that I was unable to respond at the time, which Bible app do you have in your phone? I just replied with another question, what do you mean? He asked for my phone and downloaded a Bible app for me.

Open or turn on your Bible
Open or turn on your Bible

That day I realized that, this type of technology, so advanced compare to my teen days, is common to my kid’s generation and, as usual, it can be use in so many ways! From that day on, every time that I am in front of a group of people ready to read and or teach Scripture my opening sentence is “open or turn on your Bible.”

I do think that technology is neither good nor bad; technology is just technology.

What makes it bad or good is the use we give to it. However, I do believe that the more advance we become the more distant we are from each other and it should be the other way around. I believe that in spite of any kind of technology, the human touch or relational “space” is necessary. Reggie McNeal in Missional Communities, the rise of the Post-Congregational Church argues that space is the relational space that people inhabit.

These two experiences with my kids: fixing supper, the “Bible app” and seeking for the personal relational space, reminded me of my teen days. Quite often, I saw my mother praying, singing and reading Scripture. Even while she was preparing food for the family, she was either singing or reciting Scripture loudly.

Whenever I have the opportunity, I promote engaging in Scripture reading as much as possible for I believe it is vital for life. At our Tuesday small group, we took upon the challenge of daily Bible reading and for that purpose we decided that reading the gospel according to Luke was best for us at the time.

The following week when we met, we all reported our experiences with the Bible. However, the following remarks stroke me the most: “It has not been easy, but we are committed to it; even the little ones are partaking” were the words that I heard from one family that recent committed their lives to Christ.

After accepting the invitation to commit to daily Scripture reading and reflection, we began to notice personal life changes.

Societal transformation is possible when personal transformation begins to happen. After all, the intent of church life and worship is to experience God in ways afresh and to serve our “barrios” neighborhoods and communities in which we live in. Now, this transformation is made possible when people takes upon a commitment to dwell in Scripture.

The sole purpose for today’s writing is to invite us to fall in love with the Bible by reading, reflecting and living it out as much as possible. Whether you do lectio divina, read a portion randomly or you do it before your night prayers; the point here is gathering and centering on what Scriptures has to say to us and how are we going to respond to it!

One thing comes to mind, “it is not easy” to set aside time to read and reflect on God’s word especially in the midst of a society that refuses to prioritize Scripture reading whether at a personal level, with group or with the family.

In summary, John’s narrative of the feeding of the crowd, points us to see that this people seemed to be in need not only of the physical bread but also they wanted to feed their souls. In addition, John sees that Jesus can satisfy both needs.

As I indicated earlier that I was preparing supper for the family; I realized that I also needed to prepare the way for Jesus, the bread of life as revealed in Scripture.

I am inviting us to engage and dwell in Scripture reading, reflection and practice; after all what good is to have a correct orthodoxy without a good orthopraxis?

“6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates”
(Deuteronomy 6:1-9 NRSV).

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