Sunday, December 4, 2011

#35 - Bible, cover-to-cover

The Good Book. The Word of God. The Holy Bible.

Started reading Genesis on January 1 this year... "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and last night I finished with the final words of Revelation, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

I've now read every single word, from cover to cover. (Although the version I read is a protestant copy, which means, technically, I could read MORE books from the Apocrypha in an orthodox bible, but for now, I'm done!)

(Side note: when I started reading the King James version this year, I didn't realize that this is the 400th year anniversary of publication. It was in 1611 that Prince James, in England, commissioned this copy to be read in churches there. Kind of a neat coincidence.)

Took me almost a year of reading almost every day, and wow, what a book. I started off feeling really frustrated by the fairy-tale perspective of Genesis (Adam and Eve and the snake in the garden. Really? I'm supposed to believe this stuff?) and grew even more perturbed by much of the bloody violence in the Old Testament, interspersed with insanely boring chapters outlining long family histories. "And Jonah begat Samuel, who begat Jehosaphat, who begat..."

There's a reason most people haven't read the bible. It's very long and very challenging.

But then again, isn't that the point? There's also a reason it's still today the most widely published book in history. I started out with cynicism and yet despite my resistance to it, could not help but be moved and inspired by the Christian holy book. There are, if you're willing to stick it out to get to the good stuff, incredibly entertaining stories, inspiring quotes, heroic and noble characters, and the ultimate message of hope, in the gospel. Even if you're not religious, even if you don't believe in God, I dare you to read the New Testament and not want to be a Christian, even just in your heart.

For all the mistakes and disappointments we find in each other, Jesus Christ is Love itself, Hope embodied, and the ultimate hero. He's someone to idolize, to follow, to trust in. I'm biased, of course, being raised in a Catholic family, but I honestly think even if I wasn't a Christian before, I'd be very tempted to consider becoming one now. Not necessarily in the way that becoming a Christian means in the modern world, following a proscribed formula laid out by some church I don't fit with, but to start off with, just in my heart and mind, just by trying to be more like Jesus. Nobody can argue with trying to be more kind, more loving, can they?

I think we can all, everyone in the world, no matter what our religion or even atheist perspective, learn something profound about what it means to be the best human being we can be, from the example of the life and teachings of Jesus. And in that, there is great hope. Thank God for the Bible!


1 comment:

Adriana Bucz said...

Brilliant. Love this posting. We could all try to be more like Jesus, indeed (regardless of our beliefs).