As mentioned in last Sunday's sermon, meangingful engagement with Scripture is one of the key catalysts for a congregation's spiritual health (for three more, please see page 7 of this interesting study done for the Episcopal (Anglican) RenewalWorks program in the States).
My current Bible study is benefitting greatly from a few new additions that might be of interest to you. First off is the rich resource offered by The Bible Project. The website features the work of 10 artists, led by a biblical scholar, who have created short (on average six minutes or so) videos that illustrate the context, themes, historical influences and literary styles of each book of the Bible, and on many overarching themes in the biblical narrative. Each book has a downloadable poster that you can print off and keep as a reminder.
It also offers a plan for reading the Bible in a year, or at your own pace, interspersing for you the relevant videos amongst the scripture readings. This can be experienced on your desk computer, smart TV, or even on a related app called Read Scripture.
All this is offered free of charge. Donations are gratefully received, as the entire project is crowd-funded. I have found the elegant design of the website and resources, coupled with the amount of information they are able to pack into those videos, has really enhanced my enjoyment of my study time.
What's also enhancing my studytime pleasure is my new copy of The Message, the Bible as paraphrased in modern language by the highly respected scholar Eugene Peterson. As you will see, this edition I bought from Amazon is enhanced with dozens of black and white line drawings awaiting your colouring pencils or other embellishments. There is also lots of room on every page for your notes. I confess I have never been swept away by the "adult colouring book" phenomenon that is sweeping the land, but for whatever reason I am really enjoying taking a quiet daily break with this particular Bible and an array of rainbow colours! If you have never before picked up a copy of The Message and experienced its language, it is worth doing so. It is a very good and well-liked complement to the "authorized" translations of the Bible.
And I am really enjoying being a member of the Good News Gathering Post, a small group of St. Clement's folk who have a private group on Facebook in which we reflect on the upcoming Sunday's Gospel reading and share thoughts about its resonance with our own life experiences and circumstances. I am always moved by the insightful comments people offer. This is an easy and uplifting way to incorporate more scripture into your "non-Sunday" life, whether or not you are in town, able to come on a Sunday, or scheduled to the teeth with other commitments. Every Monday I post the Gospel reading and then the pondering and posting begins! Please be assured that posts are NOT viewable by the wider Facebook audience - just group members. If you'd like to join us, click here and request an "official" invite, or send me the email address with which your Facebook account is associated and I will set it up! All ages and stages very welcome.
Finally, I know I will have fun with the weekly Sunday Morning Papers that we introduced on Epiphany 3. We ordered it for our children and youth, but are sharing it with everyone as it is a great summation and reminder of our weekly lectionary readings. You are invited to read them, use them for sermon notes, or stick them to your fridge to remind you of the message you heard on Sunday morning.
If you don't plan to break out the felt pens yourself, you might want to stockpile them at home so you have a ready-made colouring/activity book when youngsters come to call!