As posted by Mother Laura at RevGalBlogPals:
Does everyone remember the old Sunday School song?
Oh, that’s the book for me.
I take my stand on the Word of God,
have been working on an expansive language version of the Psalms and
the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary. (For you
non-liturgical gals and pals, that’s a set of prayers for morning,
noon, evening, etc., mostly consisting of Psalms and other biblical
So I have been thinking a lot about the Bible recently,
and how we encounter it as God’s Word–or don’t–in our lives, prayer,
and ministry. (Great minds think somewhat alike this week, as
yesterday’s Ask The Matriarch post dealt
with ways to help as many people in a community as possible engage with
a scriptural text in preparation for Sunday worship).
that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I’m looking forward to
hearing everyone’s experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E
1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?
Considering that I was churched right from the Cradle Roll (and have my certificate of graduation from that "class" in my baby book!), this is going back a long way, if we consider hearing a story to be the same as encountering a text. I have a vivid memory of making a three-dimensional representation of the story of the man whose friends let him down through the roof to get him nearer to Jesus, and that continues to be a powerful story for me.
And we know I handled the Bible given to me at baptism from the red crayon marks inside the cover.
But the first passage I remember reading all by myself I found next to one of the color plates in the little Bethlehem mother-of-pearl New Testament my father brought home from a trip to Israel when I was seven or eight. I remember vividly the discovery of this passage, one which remains potent for me today:
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore,
if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow
is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of
(Matthew 6:28b-30, KJV)
2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).
For beauty, the King James. For scholarship, the NRSV. For surprising inspiration, The Message.
3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?
Mark, because it gives us the most human Jesus and is structured so intricately, making its appeal both theological and literary. I wrote a big paper in seminary on his version of the story of the Anointing Woman, and that remains a favorite passage for all kinds of reasons, particularly because she anoints his head. (That’s Mark 14:3-9.) I also love the spare beginning of Mark’s gospel. By the time you reach verse 15 of chapter 1, Jesus is preaching! And when he says the kingdom of God is near, you can understand why people believed him.
The larger Matthew passage surrounding the verses above is also special (both comforting and challenging) to me, as is Philippians 3:1-14. Growing up in a culture and a family where much store is set by who your people are, it challenges me to find who God wants me to be, not discounting where I came from but not resting upon it either.
Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther’s famous words about
James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to
John’s gospel is a mixed bag for me. Some gorgeous passages, lots of stuff I just can’t stand.
5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?
In translation, I like it where it’s accurate, but not where it’s being overlaid. In liturgy and proclamation, I always use it.
Bonus: Back to the Psalms–which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?
Ah, that would be Psalm 46, especially verses 1-5, and most especially the glad river of verse 4, which put me in mind of the underground rivers that represent for me the deep unconscious connections between all parts of God’s creation. When we realize that connection and live into it, truly the river will make God’s city glad and God will be in the midst of it and helping us.
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.