As promised, a few more words about my Lenten project of reading through the Bible. In actuality, it was a Lent-plus project, since I took a head start of about two weeks, somewhat unintentionally. I started in Genesis without a super-specific schedule in mind, but then as Lent/Ash Wednesday approached, I decided I wanted to finish by Easter.
The fact that I finished was really only possible for two reasons. First was the fact that I have a lot of free time on my hands right now, and as you can imagine, a reading project such as this requires a lot of time. Second was the timely reminder of our pastor that saying “yes” to a spiritual discipline usually also means saying “no” to something else. Goodbye, cheesy movies on Netflix. I don’t really miss you that much, it turns out!
I expected to get stuck in Leviticus, which I thought was actually not that bad, but did end up stalling out a little in Chronicles I and II, and then in Luke. I may have also texted C in desperation one day: “Joshua 13 is SO boring.”
Genesis and Acts were two of my favorite books going into the project, and they still are. But I have a new love for John, especially his Gospel and first letter, which he closes: Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21). And Ecclesiastes was a surprise hit. Consider:
Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things. (Ecc. 11:4-5)
In any case, I am so glad I did this. It is a grand narrative my friends, and I often forget that when just focusing on one book or passage. Reading it through so rapidly really impressed upon me how carefully God weaves His story together with ours – and how his mercy and love are at work even in instances where that does not seem to be true.
At the same time, there is something you miss when you read so quickly. Now that the “project” has come to an end, I find myself wanting to sit with just a short passage, to take the opportunity to really chew on it, dig deep – possibly even memorize it(!) We’ll see.
Finally, my biggest piece of advice (that I did not follow) would be: if you’re going to read Paul’s letters (which I do think are worth it), read Eugene Peterson’s translation of them in The Message. So. Much. Better.