What I Learned During Lent: the Biblical Writers

   Bible writers! Thomas Merton, in his wonderful journal called The Sign of Jonas, began thinking one day that, if he struggled to get anything out of Scripture, he might actually ask the Bible writers themselves for help - assuming they are in heaven, and living eternally...

   He mused, "I have a great, though sometimes confused, affection for the writers of the Bible. I feel closer to them than to almost any other writers I know of. Isaiah, Moses, David, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all part of my life. They are always about me. They look over my shoulder, earnest men... I feel they are very concerned about me, and that they want me to understand what God had them write down - and that they have always surrounded me with solicitous prayers, and that they will always love me and protect me."

   Wow. Bible study feels like a solo activity: I open the book and try to make sense of it or find something helpful. It can be hard, we're buffaloed at times, distracted or maybe even bored. Maybe I'm in a group, like Disciple - and I at least have friends helping me to reflect and dig deep.

   But Merton expands the circle sumptuously! Maybe I am alone, I am hoping to read something from God, a word of hope, or just to know more about God and understand what the heck is going on in my life from God's viewpoint. What if I could think of Isaiah, Matthew, Paul and John hovering above me, rooting for me, praying for me and loving me?

   Easter is about the resurrection, about the dead having a wonderful communion with God - so we might well expect the ancient writers to enjoy each other but also be somehow palpably available to us, maybe even eager to see someone reading their material they labored over and treasured so much.

I'm a writer - and believe me, I think about this stuff long after it's gone, and I hope and pray you get something from it, and I stand ready to help, to answer a question or two. How much more then would God's inspired authors feel even more strongly about you and their marvelous library of publications we call the bible? Could Merton be right - that you have some invisible but real help?

James

james@mpumc.org

A great way to live biblically is through our annual Jubilee Plus! missions campaign. 100% of the money goes directly to help those in crisis and need. More info here: be generous!

The collage of images are Bible writers (Daniel, John, Paul & Matthew) from the stained glass at our church; to see terrific detailed photography of the windows get a copy of How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place, available in our Goodness Gracious! gift shop.