Am I the only one?
This morning, my alarm went off, as it usually does. After pushing snooze once or twice, I got up, as I usually do. Got the coffee started and unloaded the dishwasher while it was brewing, and by a little after 7, I was in my favorite chair with my stack of morning reading.
This year I am going through the Discipleship Journal Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan. Because of my wonky travel schedule of late, I'm a bit behind in the reading, so I'm presently somewhere in early April right now. I opened my Bible to the next reading - Psalm 76 - and began to read.
I got to the end of this short psalm, and was about to check off the little box, when it suddenly occurred to me that I had no idea what I had just read. If I had closed the Bible right then and there, and you had asked me, "What did you just read, Christy?" I would have had nothing to say.
I had skimmed over the words, already thinking about the day ahead. I had been formulating in my mind what I would do first when I got to work (finish editing the latest IAM Podcast, write some checks for my boss to sign, read up on Barbara Takanaga, who spoke at last year's Encounter and whose opening I am attending this evening). But nothing of what I had just read had sunk in to my mind or heart in any way, shape or form.
Does this ever happen to you? I was reading the word of God and it was as meaningful to me as if I were skimming the Yellow Pages. YIKES.
I didn't check off the box. Instead, I went back to the top of Psalm 76 and began to read again, only this time I read one verse and then waited as I thought about what I had just read.
I didn't even get past the first verse.
Here's what happeend inside my head:
1 In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel.
Lord, I pray that you would be known here in New York City. I pray that your name would be great in New York City! Heck, for that matter, I pray that your name would be known in Staten Island. Actually, let me start with my street. Lord, I pray that you would be known on Tysen Street!
I began to imagine the houses up and down my street, neighbors whom I've seen or spoken with. Some of them are going through some really hard things. One neighbor just lost a son in a plane crash recently. Another has a son who is an alcoholic and drug user. Several I know of are struggling financially, and even on the verge of losing their homes.
Lord, I pray your name would be great here. For that to happen, my neighbors need to know the real YOU, not the made-up, crappy public opinion of who you are. The name of "Jesus" is not great here! I know several of my neighbors actually despise you, because they think they know you but they don't. So I pray that your name would be great - your name, which I know brings salvation and grace and peace and love. I pray that you would be known by everyone on my street, and that your name would be great to them.
I then started to imagine a gathering of neighbors in my apartment. I imagined making invitations and handing them out to everyone on my street: "Neighborhood Fellowship at Christy's Place. All are welcome to come. We will look at biblical principles for life (finances, family relations, marriage, conflict), share prayer needs and pray together for Tysen Street. You do not need to be a Christian to come, but we will be looking at the Christian Bible for direction. We'll pray for our neighborhood's children, schools, businesses, families, marriages, finances, etc."
I wrote down this idea. It's not something I would do flippantly, so I need to pray about whether I can handle something like this right now (I travel a lot, and there is a lot going on at my church right now).
But I think it's a pretty good idea. Don't you?
All of this came from meditating on ONE VERSE: Psalm 76:1. By the time I had prayed and dreamed and schemed all of this, I had run out of time. So much for checking off all the boxes in today's Bible reading plan!
Oh, my friends. I got to see this morning, once again, that the Bible is, indeed, alive. But just as looking at a sandwich doesn't nourish our bodies, neither does "looking at" the words on the page. We must take time to bite, chew, masticate, taste, ingest, digest and be nourished by the words. When we do, at least, when I do, ideas come, inspiration comes, excitement and hope arise.
What verse rocked your world today?
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