The Roman Catholic Church gives its lay followers brownie points for their reading of The Bible regularly and sufficiently: To encourage them? The presumption must be that numbers of their own people find it uninviting?
To most of, certainly those of us outside the Christian Church, and whether or not sympathetic to the message it carries, The Bible is a closed book – literally. It’s like school and educational learning; or cuddly toys; we give them up when we grow up and rarely if ever look back or think much about them anymore.
All those very worthy books your mother and father bought you as a child and which you never even opened they were so uninteresting to you. And for which you never saw a glimmer of interest or pleasure taken by your parents in them in their own behalves, and for the sake of the subject matter in the books. In fact you never saw a glimmer of interest in their topics uttered or shown ever by your parents, nor any clear indication they ever studied with interest any of the topics themselves. This is all par for the course.
The Bible is in this situation par excellence – a book no-one ever opens – except children encouraged to do so by their non-bible-reading parents.
Excepting the God-botherers, who never seem to put it down and are always going on about it, and how it changed their lives and is their daily pick-me-up and tonic.
Really odd – that some few of the population are able to delve into The Bible sometimes several times a day and never stop enthusing about it; whilst the rest of us find their habit and their enthusiasm one of the biggest turnoffs for conversation and for enjoying company?
Clearly, either one side is kidding itself or else one side is missing out on something pretty big?
And those Godly people are not only crossed over onto the other side for, but are not understood by the rest of us who want no active part in their delirium.
We – the rest of us – understand what it is to wake up fresh after a good night’s sleep and the sun is up and a warm lighted glow is entering the window and maybe birdsong is in the air? That freshness, that sense of readiness for a great day; that anticipation for and even joy in being alive at the beginning of another fine day; all these we know about and are able to envisage and so sympathise with others of us to whom this is a great and regular thing. This is the sort of thing that never palls, and which we every day experience, and experience as it were afresh and anew each time.
The Bible bashers say that God is light. They also sing a hymn ‘New Every Morning is the Love’ of their God.
We – the rest of us – know what it is to sense with our being the first appearances of Spring. The daffodils coming; the blackbirds nesting; the wood pigeon cooing; then anemones and bluebells, then brighter finer lengthening days, a certain warmth in the air and above all a sense of awakening from winter’s long and arduous attrition on our mood and endurance. This never fails us; this sense every year that life is being reborn and that a rise not only of the sap, but of optimism and joy and anticipation of the coming months in in hand.
Those Christians quote their Bible by saying that the least spring flower is adorned more gloriously and gorgeously than ever their King Solomon was; and that like the Spring something greater than that Solomon is here; something greater than their Moses is here. That their God clothes each one of these least Spring flowers and that he lavishes on each of them a glory greater than kingly, and all for one or two days in bloom when then they grow withered and good for nothing till next year. So that even for a rubbish little thing like a two day flower he dresses it so very beautifully and takes such pains on it; and he does it because his immaculate care and attention to each flower expresses his love – for that flower – for its animal and human beholders and for his Creation in all.
We – the rest of us – agree that there is nothing quite so perfect, so vitally beautiful and joyously attractive an experience as to see sprung anew in Spring as a newly-blossomed primrose or dog-rose, or violet, or snowdrop, or daisy, or cornflower, or lilac; – the list could go on to the crack of doom.
Each time we experience it – for that first time in the year – it is as if never before have we seen such a stunning and absorbing and joy-giving sight. The impression of the existential moment is experienced as being uplifting to the point of cosmic significance sometimes.
Similarly the harvest is a time of satisfaction for us others. We see the fruits and the crops standing on the tress and in the fields ready to be reaped and gathered; and an sometimes overwhelming sense of this being The Day is upon us; this being the moment to be alive, and that sense of security and safety, peace even, in observing the plenty all around us, and its rich overplus of fecundity and what the Bible-bashers call ‘store’. Each fruitful harvest time carries the same sense of wellbeing to us, never dimmed or curtailed, always impressing the heart with a richness of a sense of plenty, being like new every time.
The God-botherers talk endlessly and so very eagerly to us whenever they stop you – like The Ancient Mariner stops his wedding guest because he is obsessed with his tale and has to tell and retell it to passers-by – they bang on about the harvest being ripe and the sickle ready to be put in and that the labourers to the field are few yet the fields are white with harvest – all that stuff – and can we relate to it, can we bear with it at all?
Having looked at the sorts of things we find invigorating and which renew our affirmation for life, and for life in abundance – the waking morning, the coming spring, the fullness of harvest – and how we agree between us that they never fail to arouse us from a sort of dormancy as if for the very first time in our lives, and every time that they happen to us; maybe these kind of dormancy-awakening experiences are possibly what those bothersome Christians see in their Bible when they keep boringly going back to it day after day, week on week, year on year, and never seem to get fed-up?
They read and reread the same passages over and over and never tire of reading them.
As for wakening-up – it would be great for us to experience a few times a day something like the first inklings of spring arriving, or the sense of a brand new factory-sealed never been opened day arriving bringing all its hope and life, or that feeling of a full and replete plenty in nature surrounding us as harvest.
There’s a fuddy-duddy poet, a boring old dead white Anglo-Saxon male, who was also a Christian, and he wrote in one of his dull and dreary essays:
‘…..most people are only very little alive; and to awaken them to the spiritual is a very great responsibility: it is only when they are so awakened that they are capable of real Good’