The Renewal Works team proposes, the Rector endorses supported by the Vestry that beginning in September through the Cycle of the coming Church be the Bible Challenge to read the Bible in one year, Yes the entire Bible, Yes ! Where did we leave God? Where did leave him? For many of us, in truth, we left him at our mother’s knee or children’s Sunday school. What was going on as you left him? They were telling the stories of God’s people, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob and stories of Jesus, God’s son.
I suggest if that is true for you that you find a good children’s Bible; good in that it recounts just the facts of the story without elaboration. If you have children of your own, so much the better; read the stories and as you read, eavesdrop, overhear you as you read the story of God’s loving care of his people through history.
As the Meister said, “Your best chance is look where you saw him last!”
Note: Over 200 people pledged to read the Bible, 80 to read the Bible all the way through.
Recently I found a new title on Dove Booksellers, “Forsaken Firstborn” a study of how God seems to choose the “wrong” one rather than the one that should be the heir. We find this pattern in the Old Testament. God chooses Isaac over Ishmael. Jacob is chosen over Esau, his twin, even thought he is a stinker. Judah is chosen over his older brothers to be the father of the principal tribe of Israel. Joseph is chosen over his older brothers to be the one to deliver his family even though his brothers reject him. Jacob then blesses the younger of Joseph’s sons to be the chosen son.
Jacob Blessing his Grandsons – C V Vos
As an oldest son I hope that senior birth order is not always the source of perdition and divine rejection. However this does seem to point to the spontaneous, creative and even, if I may say, playful nature of God who makes leaders out of cowards and elders of the deceitful. It gives me hope. Then a thought seized me that I had never thought before. Jesus, the first born, the beloved, was abandoned on the cross. Here the divine pattern is played out in a cosmic way. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” is the cry not just of Jesus but also of all the forsaken firstborn.
We are the descendents of Adam the firstborn yea even the forsaken firstborn alienated by sin. Jesus became for the forsaken firstborn. If that were the end of the story it would be a tragedy. But it is not the end of the tale. Jesus is not the forsaken firstborn he is the firstborn of those that sleep. His resurrection is for the forsaken firstborns and all those who have wasted their inheritance (and we all have) in the far country. The good news is that like Jacob the heel grabber who was reconciled with his forsaken older brother Esau, we too are reconciled by the death of Jesus who died as the forsaken firstborn, risen from the dead that we too might not be forsaken but have not only life in the age to come but life and that life full in this present time. Praise be to God who gives us the victory.