Part 7 Martha’s Prayer Cupboard – The Good Book

Jesus was a great story-teller.
If you think about it, He had to be.
He had to attract people’s attention and
hold it long enough to get His message across.
Not that most people got it the first time around.

In a way that’s the beauty of Jesus’ stories –
you think you’ve got the message –
and then, quite unexpectedly, you see something different in it.
It’s one good reason for hearing them over and over again – and I did!
What was surprising was that
I always heard something that I hadn’t heard before.
I suppose I was a different person each time.
Maybe I was in a different mood –
or something had happened that made things look different –
all sorts of things meant that I was almost hearing it for the first time.

Most of Jesus’ stories were easy to remember.
He knew about everyday life, you see.
He knew about family squabbles –
and travelling on dangerous roads – and building towers….
and He just had a way of telling a story about them
that made you think about life in a new way.

Sometimes it was as if He got into your head – or your heart.
Like the Older Brother in the story of the Prodigal Son –
I swear there was a twinkle in His eye as He told me that one!
But then – He used the idea of blending yeast into the flour
to make the bread rise as an image of how the Kingdom works…
quietly and invisibly in some ways –
but sometimes taking a lot of kneading too!

The Gospels are full of little incidents like that.
It can pay to sit and just read one of the Gospels
a bit at a time like a story – to get the full flavour of it.
You’ll be surprised by how much of it you already know.
You’ll probably also be surprised by some of the things you read –
and wonder how you ever missed them before!

Or – you could choose on story – or incident –
and live with that for a few days.
Read it through – and then,
when you have a spare couple of minutes,
bring it to mind and “chew on it” – and
see if anything new comes to mind.
remember – even after a day –
you’re not the same person as you were the day before.

Drinking from the Wellspring

In his book, “The Foolishness of God”, the former Bishop of Salisbury John Austin Baker says, “Before we can hope to sip the Bible like wine, we need to drink it like beer”*  So:  “Drinking the Bible like beer…”

Set aside a few minutes each day and read a chapter or so of the Bible at a time.
It would probably help if you are a newcomer to this to start with a Gospel.
(And if a cup-of-tea or coffee helps – have one!) “…and sipping it like wine…”
If you decide to play with just one story or incident, you might like to try the Sunday Gospel as a starting point – or browse through your Bible and see if a Gospel story catches your eye.  Simply read it through and then call it to mind at odd moments during the week – in a traffic jam – a supermarket queue – waiting at a bus-stop – See what happens…

© 200X Wellspring

[This is one of a series of nine posts using one’s imagination to get inside a biblical character to make him or her come alive for listeners or readers.     Part  8 will be posted later this week.]

Wellspring is a Liturgy and Spirituality website in the United Kingdom. They have a variety of materials that may touch and inspire you.  Please check out their website for yourself by clicking here.


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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2 Responses to Part 7 Martha’s Prayer Cupboard – The Good Book

  1. Carol Zehr says:

    As a Laypastor for the Lutheran Church, I can see what you mean by rereading a Gospel passage that you can get new meaning in a passage every time you read it as we all miss something and we can catch it the next time we go to that passage.

    • Paul Wharton says:

      I continue to be amazed at how God’s Word can be heard anew again and again.

      Here’s another thought: Some people will hear the Word of the Lord that is different from what was actually read aloud. The Holy Spirit works in many ways.

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