THE BIBLE - YOUR HANDBOOK FOR 2012
During 2011 ICN published monthly lists for the E100 Bible Challenge – recommending what have been called the “essential 100” readings for grasping the key parts of the Bible.
I decided to follow the New Testament series during my sabbatical, starting slightly earlier than the ICN suggestions, and found many useful connections with what Gwen and I did in Papua New Guinea. Just coincidences? Or was it God’s Spirit enabling us to use his Word for his work?
“In the beginning” was Week 1, which I read while we were travelling through Singapore and Port Moresby to Mendi, and recalling our first journey there in the same week of August, 1974. The reading from Luke chapter 3 spoke of making a straight path for the Lord to travel amidst the valleys and mountains. The Mendi, Tari and Lai Valleys are at 5,500 feet above sea level between mountains rising almost as far again.
Week 2 readings were on the Teaching of Jesus and Week 3 on his Miracles, while we taught in the Bible College in Mendi. One of the subjects was the Sacraments, and I referred to the Feeding of the Five Thousand. I read about Jesus healing on the days we toured Mendi Hospital - where our daughter Meg had been born and my appendix removed - and we saw church trucks setting out from there to take medical supplies to remote aid posts.
The fourth week was on the Cross of Christ. The risen Jesus telling Peter to feed his sheep and take care of his lambs was a useful passage for encouraging pastors at their retreats in Tari and Lai Valleys.
I read the story of Peter learning that the Good News is for all people in the week that we took part in the opening of new facilities for the HIV/AIDS Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Training Centre.
In Week 6 the passages on the Travels of Paul were relevant when I was asked to speak about places in the New Testament that we had visited, and I used some of Paul’s farewell speech to the elders from Ephesus in the staff retreat to end our five weeks in the Highlands.
We flew to the island of New Britain, and taught at two colleges of the United Church while the E100 readings featured the teaching of Paul to the Churches. The letters of Paul to the Leaders came in the week we had been asked to lead Bible studies on “Building Leaders” for the annual meeting of Bishops, their wives, Regional Women’s Fellowship Presidents and Assembly staff.
Before flying home during the week on the Apostles’ Teaching, we were glad to leave our copy of the E100 book with Bishop Wesis for the library that the church is trying to develop in Mendi for the Bible College, schools and church staff. I kept a list of the final week’s readings on Revelation to follow while I was home, writing up lessons taught and preparing reports on our visit.
I hope that you too find regular Bible reading relevant and helpful in your situations. God bless you in 2012.
If you didn’t follow the E100 readings last year, but are keen to do so now, you can find a full list of all 100 essential bible passages listed here on the ICN website (See E100 Readings in the menu bar above).
There is still time to make that your resolution for 2012!
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St Giles’ Church Hall, 2pm to 3.30pm. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and bereavement visitors. The next meeting is on Monday 20th February (then Monday 19th March). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970) if you would like to talk to someone first.