I am not in favour of every Thomas, Richard and Harold picking up the Bible and reading it without adequate preparation, direction and guidance.
You take todays three readings. Can any one of you explain them to me? Did they mean anything to you? What meaning did you get from any one of the readings and if you got any meaning was it what the author intended?
I know you have, over the years, been told and urged to read the Bible.
Bye and large reading the Bible without knowing a fair bit about it and especially about the particular book you are reading can often lead to confusion. After all the thousands of different Christian Churches differ in their understanding of the Bible at least to some extent.
You take todays first reading from the Book of Daniel. Daniel was a fictional character. Whoever the author was lived about 160 B.C. and he wrote in symbolic prophetic language about events that had already happened.
The second reading from Hebrews although attributed to Paul is very likely not written by him. It was written about 60 – 69 AD. It seeks to convince the Jewish Christians of that time that the one sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth on the Cross superseded and abrogated the many and differing sacrifices of the Temple in Jerusalem – of the Old Testament.
The Gospel reading is a hotchpotch of apocalyptic accounts about the end of the world, about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. and about one’s own death, all mixed up together.
Why did our church put on these three readings today? As you say if you are asked a question on the TV. the answer to which you do not know – you say; ‘now that is a very good question.’
It is probably because we are approaching the end of the Liturgical year of the Church (in two weeks time) and they want me to sit up, review my relationship with my God and put my spiritual lives in order.
Having said all this we must recognise that parts of the New Testament, especially the Gospels, are readily understandable and helpful to the most casual of readers. Many of the parables and instructions as regards how to live our daily lives are self evident and can be read over and over again and meditated on to ones advantage.