5 a day nourishment

I hope Revd Loraine Mellor and Jill Baker aren’t offended when I stop at this half-way point in their Presidential and Vice-Presidential (Methodist Conference) year and reflect on the challenge they gave us right at the beginning of their term of office.

They challenged us to reflect on the Scripture passage, in Acts 2:46-47, which reads……..

“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of the people. And day by daytime Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

In order to hep us in this task they invited the Methodist people (and others) to develop a five-a-day spiritual habit. This was printed in a booklet but also on the imaginative dice shown above. I intend to try to reflect on each one of these spiritual habits each day this week, as part of the Trent and Dove’s year of Intentional Faith Development.

Please join me in this reflection this week and Ill be interested in your thoughts each day.

Day 1

What are you reading at the moment ? Why are you reading it ? What difference would it make if you didn’t read it ? So often our reading habits reflect our interests, but also affect our passions, our lifestyles, our though processes so its of importance to understand some of the questions above.

At the moment I’m reading David Jason’s biography for entertainment, the daily newspaper on my iPad for information and I’m about to start Kevin Palau’s “unlikely” for spiritual development. Three very different sets of reading and each for a different purpose as we need to keep variety in our reading habits, from simple enjoyable reading to reading that stretches our imaginations and minds.

Usually on a morning I turn to my paper for the day’s news over breakfast and its important that I know whats going on in the world; usually this is kept up to date by our constant barrage of news media in all its various forms, but if we don’t keep up to date then were cannot make informed decisions about the issues of the day. Trouble is it seems hard to find authentic, trustworthy, unbiased information so we have to be increasingly careful of which ‘voices’ we listen to and not simply follow the loudest, brashest noisemakers.

When Im relaxing I turn to something that simply entertains and this may or may not stretch my imagination although I think that even the most entertaining of reading ought to leave us thinking; I remember being taught that the best science-fiction is that which leaves you thinking that it’s within the realm of possibility and so how would you react, and I agree with that sentiment.

My spiritual reading is the one that should really stretch me and at times I find it’s the hardest of disciplines, because the natural human option is to go for the easiest option and the one that needs least work. Consequently when I turn to such reading I find myself studying much of the words, reflecting on the sentiments, listening for the challenge to my Ministry and my life. But I try to do some such reading every day (don’t always succeed).

Of course in all this there is the area of reading which is the most fruitful of all, and that is my reading of the Bible. Methodists are challenged when they become members to read the Scriptures daily; Alison on her Facebook page puts up a portion of scripture every day in both English and Romanian and last year video’d herself every day for the year reading a portion of scripture on Facebook. Of course it’s very easy to simply pick up a Bible, read a small part of it and walk away. I put it to you that it isn’t really giving the Bible the due attention it deserves, for if we’re going to argue that this is the Word of God, then it should be essential reading for all of us.

It has been variously described as a most explosive book and also as a dangerous book; why ? because it has the power to change lives and so it is transformational when we allow it to be. Word of Warning, it can be explosive and dangerous in a different way when in the wrong hands. By this I mean that over the centuries the Scriptures have been used to justify the prejudices of men and women and so it becomes harmful. However when I speak of explosive and dangerous I refer to the effect it can have on our lives when we seek to use it and to listen to God through it. It’s in Scripture that I encounter the teachings of the Lord I choose to follow, teachings of love, respect for creation, how to deal with other people and situations. It is these teachings that I try (and often fail in) to follow as I want my life and my Christian journey to improve and be more Christlike. Notice that in the quotation from Acts (above) it reminds us that the early Christians “spent time together in the Temple” and it would be here as well as in their own homes that they would receive the stories of Jesus, be reminded of the promises of the Old Testament and put it all together in their understanding of Gods salvation.

And so I’ll continue to read and reflect and move forward. I invite you all to join me, read more and reflect more on what you’ve read and in particular in your reading of Gods word.