One of the rhythms that is imperative to my ongoing walk with-God is that of simply reflecting on Scripture. Many people each January aspire to trek through-the-Bible with some daily reading plan. There is great value in seeing the Story of Scripture in a grand fly-over sweep. I've tried these plans several times over the years. However, I must confess, I make it about three verses and something begins to emerge from deep within - "Hmm..." or "Huh...?" or "What'the'Heck!?"
I find myself wanting to hoover over a passage, a phrase or even one single word. At that point I have a choice. Ignore the Spirit's prompting within or plow on through the assigned text of the day. I become frustrated and it's at that point that I typically jump ship.
I've concluded that God isn't as concerned with me getting through-the-Bible as He is with the Bible getting-through-me. I'm looking for an in-formation, not merely more information. I love the Story of Scripture and the way the Spirit brings it to life with transforming relevance. These times in Scripture churn up something deep within me. And, during those times (and they have come) when I'm not engaging Scripture in such a manner, I can sense the interplay of that affecting my with-God life.
One of the things that I've found extremely helpful is not merely opening up Scripture on any given day with the question, "where should I read today?". This lacks intentionality, context and many who utilize this approach find themselves not engaging Scripture with any true sense of rhythm.
When prayerfully reflecting on the patterns and practices that I need to engage in a given season, I spend some time asking God to show me a particular book of Scripture that I should live-in, work-through and marinate in. By focusing in one (or in my case - two books), there emerges a contextual understanding of the book, the time and culture it was written and the subtle nuances embedded by the author that are often missed in the quick read-through. There is a process I go through that I'll talk more about at another time, but for now, during such engagement these portions of Scripture become as an unfolding mystery of delicate and faint clues woven through it.
Back in December, as I was reflecting on my rhythms for 2009, I sensed God directing to the New Testament Epistle of Colossians. Already there are passages that have begun to consume my idle attention throughout the day. Prayers that Paul prayers, declarations made about those who follow Christ and the work of the Spirit within. These passages, almost mystically, follow me
throughout my day working their way into my outward conversations as well as my internal rumblings. Did I mention I love Scripture...? And, the Spirit that brings it to life...