As I write this, we are just coming to the end of Bible Month which this year has covered all of Mark’s gospel. I hope you have been able to ‘fill in the gaps’ by reading the various chapters of his book between each Sunday’s service. Mark’s style of writing has carried us apace, moving from one scene to the next, recounting for us Jesus’ ministry, his passion, crucifixion and resurrection.
In his opening verse, Mark tells us that this is the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Yet, having made that declaration, he then invites us, along with those who encounter Jesus, to decide for ourselves who Jesus is. Right up to the (original) closing sentences of the final chapter, he leaves the question hanging, confident, I think, that once we have read all that he has written about Jesus we will no longer be in any doubt, but declare, with Peter, that Jesus is the Christ.
It reminds us (were such a reminder necessary!) of the preciousness of God’s word. So often we take access to the Bible for granted. All of us, I’m sure, own at least one copy; many of us will have several on our shelves. Yet that is not true for everyone across the world, and I have shared elsewhere in this newsletter the story of Mary Jones and her yearning to possess her own Bible, of how her story inspired the formation of the Bible Society.
It is not only the gospel stories about Jesus which make the Bible so precious. The whole of the Bible speaks of the greatest love story ever: the love of God for his creation, for all of humanity – for us. Sometimes that is too much for us to take in. We agree that God must indeed love what he has made – but love us? Each of us? You? Me? Who are we in the grand scheme of things we ask ourselves? God might love generally but surely not so specifically. But he does: he loves you …..and he loves me. It is there in his Holy Word.
It seems to me that during these summer months, as we relax in the sunshine and enjoy the lifting of Covid restrictions and a lightening of the anxiety that has been part of our lives for the last 18 months, we would do well to spend time reading it.
As it says in 2 Timothy 3:15-17:
Since childhood, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and showing people how to live so that the one who serves God may be fully equipped to do every kind of good deed.
So, friends, I wish you a summer of reading, of soul rest and spiritual restoration. May you take time to be with God, to bask in his presence and find yourselves uplifted by his love.
With every blessing,