Haunting, mysterious, cold, untouchable and removed from this world is what the founders of our religions, the fathers of our churches look like to us today. After all a great many of our religions began centuries ago in lands that are foreign with cultures we have to study to understand. Yet, even with the emptiness of the statues eyes haunting our vision we see that he holds a book open for us to read as though inviting us to the teachings and foundation of the church. Although his clothing is ancient the ideas inside that book he holds are the core of our humanity that touches us in this day and age if only we seek to find that goodness.
Many times when reading scripture we find ourselves referring to other books to aid in our interpretation. After all we did not live in that culture or time frame. So what we interpret in our own realm of understanding is usually not what was being said. Taking a scripture class on the Gospels of the New Testament of The New American Bible I was enthralled by the symbolism of the parables and the understanding of the culture. Learning about the background of the stories enlightened my understanding of the lessons being taught within those pages.
The Bible does not read like a novel but rather a collection of books and a library unto itself. There are poems and songs held within the Psalms, Wisdom and Proverbs, there is history and drama, there are stories and parables and I am privy to the ending of it all. If we can read, study and understand this ancient book it will hold more significance and opportunity for growth than any self help book on the market today or ever. That book is The Living Word of God. It is not dead. Although the words were written centuries ago and we must study to interpret its meaning those Living Words are valid in our daily lives. If you read the Bible you know that there are days when your eyes pick up words that just jump off the pages and into your existence in the here and now.
So I challenge you to pick up a Bible and an aid for that Bible, or read the footnotes. Say a prayer before you open it that God will guide you to what He wants you to learn that day. Then open the Bible and the first page you open it to read it and see if it speaks to you. Know that the first time you read it, you may be frustrated, it is a practice that needs to be studied and learned over time but in the same way it is always open to you to see God.
I pray that each of you no matter what religion you are feel the connection to those who went before us to form our churches, they were human like us. They were doing what we are doing today, trying to spread the word of God through their own lives, in their own time. Now is our time to learn, understand and then spread the word of God through our lives today.