Every word of God is flawless
I am over half way through my attempt to read the Bible in every parish of the Sydney Diocese (and some other places) in the Flawless Bible Tour.
I have read the Bible, sometimes on my own, but mostly with anywhere from one other to forty other Bible readers and brothers and sisters in Christ at 156 locations; 137 parishes, four retirement villages and Youthworks College.
We started with Genesis Chapters 1-5 at 7am at Engadine on the morning of April 1st with four parishioners, two traveling companions and me. If we make it, and there are no guarantees, we will finish at St Andrew’s Cathedral at 7pm on April 30th. I will have read the Bible at 269 mainland parishes, four villages and two theological colleges.
I will have read through the Bible in a month. I have never read the Bible like this before. And I probably won’t again. I’m sure I only have on of these in me and I have a long way, another 119 places, to go . . . .
A number of people have asked me what the experience has been like so far. Here are some reflections:
• The word of God is flawless, but my planning of the Flawless Bible Tour has proved to be very flawed. I underestimated distances and travel times. I overestimated the length of Bible readings at each location. I thought I had the geography of the Diocese nailed. I had to back-track on a number of occasions. I was rarely early at the next location. I was sometimes late.
• The God, who has given us his flawless word, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has graciously spoken, revealed his character and plan and purpose to rescue and gather his people to himself. He is not silent, distant or dispassionate. He is a righteous and holy God. He loves good and hates sin. He created us to enjoy him and glorify his name forever (where have I heard that before?)
• The word of God is flawless but the heart of man is deeply, deeply flawed. I have read again and again of cycle upon cycle of human rebellion, disobedience, idolatry, ingratitude, injustice and all kinds of hideous human evil. I am shocked at the reading of child sacrifices at pagan alters, but silenced by the realization that we have all but fallen silent at the murder of tens of thousands of unborn babies every year in Australia, sacrificed upon the alter of self-serving interests.
• Every person whose name we have stumbled over and smiled at in our failure to pronounce properly, is a person just like me, with a family just like mine, with fears and failures just like we have, with a responsibility just like we have, in the words of Joshua, “To choose this day who you will serve, but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).”
• Despite the hardness of heart and hypocrisy of God’s people, God’s ‘slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love character’ shines through every page of the Bible and every period of human history. That we aren’t consumed right now by the righteous anger of God is testimony to his long-suffering and loving character. The prayer of the prophet, “In wrath, remember mercy (Habakkuk 3:2),” is answered in every generation right up to our own.
• So the golden thread of grace (a crimson thread no less) weaves its way through the Bible from Genesis to Jesus. Chapter after chapter of instructions about the provision for atonement in the elaborate sacrificial system and page after page about the details of temple architecture till we come to the one described as, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and in Jesus own words, “One greater than the temple is here (Matthew 12:6).” It is simply stunning.
It began to dawn on me last Friday (Day 17 of 30) that I am sure that I will look back and regard April 2015 as one of the most rewarding months of my life.
Reading God’s flawless word some of God’s rescued people.
Celebrating what lies at the heart of who we are as Jesus’ people.
Rejoicing in the hope of the resurrection.
Resting in the fulfillment of the promise, “I will be your God and you shall be my people.”