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The God Who Speaks and A Scripture Revolution

Author: Charles Whitehead

Picture: Pixabay

The God Who Speaks and A Scripture Revolution

 A revolution is taking place through "The God Who Speaks" initiative-and God is calling us to take His Word seriously, says Charles Whitehead.     

On 30 September, the feast of St. Jerome who translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and The Bible Society launched a fifteen month “Scripture Revolution.” This will run until the end of December 2020.

Their aim is that people of all ages would take up their challenge and start reading the Bible every day – celebrating, living and sharing the Word of God. 

They see personal reading of the Word as important. As members of the living community of faith in today’s increasingly secular world, we need the constant spiritual feeding and guidance we find there: “Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105) 

At the same time, in an Apostolic Letter, Pope Francis has dedicated the third Sunday in Ordinary Time to a celebration of the Word of God for the entire Church.

The title of his letter, Aperuit Illis, are the opening words in chapter 24 verse 45 of Luke’s Gospel, which describe how the Risen Jesus appeared to His disciples and “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” This was one of His final acts before His Ascension.

"You don't know My Word"

When my own faith came alive in 1976, I felt the Lord was saying: “You don’t know My Word." It was a fair challenge, so I put my Jerusalem Bible in my briefcase and read it at every opportunity.

I read it from cover to cover several times, followed different themes, underlined verses, and wrote notes everywhere. I still have my falling-to-pieces Bible from that time.

Whenever I see it, I am reminded to keep up my habit of daily Scripture reading, totally believing that “Bibles that are falling apart are usually read by people who aren’t!”

I had learned that the Word of God was vital for my spiritual life, that whenever I opened my Bible the Holy Spirit was with me to help me enjoy it, understand it, and be blessed by it.

As an anonymous author wrote:

“The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the fate of sinners, and the happiness of believers. It is a light to direct you, food to nourish you, and comfort to cheer you. It’s a mine of incredible wealth and a river of genuine joy. Christ is its grand subject, your good its design, and the glory of God its end. Let it fill your memory, rule your heart, and guide your steps.

A Year Of Transformation

It's an exciting prospect. As Paul reminds us: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Familiarity with the Word of God helps us to follow the prompting of the Spirit and to be confident in so doing.

As Isaiah 30:21 reminds us:“Your ears will hear a voice behind you saying –This is the way, walk in it." 

The Scriptures often speak directly to me, and just recently I read these words: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Reflecting on these verses, I had to ask myself: am I really doing these 3 things? Quite a challenge - I'm determined to tackle all 3 exhortations, but I think I'll have to concentrate on them one at a time!

In this special year of “The God Who Speaks”, let’s take every opportunity to read our Bibles and to apply what we read to our daily lives.
 
Pope Francis has encouraged everyone to carry a Bible in their pocket, and to read it on the bus or at any time in the day.
 
If my experience is anything to go by, 2020 will be a year of transformation for each of us who takes the challenge of the Pope and our Bishops seriously.

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