Friday, November 18, 2011

The Time Bomb Embedded in National Bible Week

1940 was a very scary year to live through. Hitler was ravaging Europe, Pacific nations were being conquored, and the Great Depression had by no means disappeared. Many Americans were determined to stay uninvolved and isolated but it was becoming increasingly apparent that they and the other democracies of the world were being surrounded. A latent fear was pervasive.

In the midst of this a group of professionals in New York felt it was important to turn people's minds to the hope offered by the Bible. So they formed the National Bible Association to simply encourage people to read this pivotal book, regardless of their religions affiliation or lack thereof...

In 1941 the first National Bible Week was observed the week of Thanksgiving and they've been held ever since. This year Monday November 21st will be the National Day of the Bible.

Now, it is true that Bible Week is, to a great extent, part of the "civic religion" that I see as one of the ways we dumb down the Christian movement and make it comfortable. Jesus is not here to be the mascot of any government or society, not even his own home country. To repeat N T Wright's dictum, "If Jesus is Lord, then Caesar is not."

But I also believe this: The Bible is a time bomb. "God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword," (Letter to the Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12, CEB). The Great Announcement of the Gospel in particular is not just a series of words but "God's own power for salvation," (Letter to the Romans chapter 1, verse 16, CEB).

When the Scriptures are read, the human heart is exposed to God's raw, transformative energy. Anything can happen. The corridors of history are rife with stories of people whose lives were changed and minds convinced simply by reading this book. So I think National Bible Week is good the way broccoli is: I started because it was good for me, and now I eat it because I like it.

The first part of the CEB Blog Tour I mentioned earlier is dedicated to National Bible Week. So I'll be writing several Bible-oriented posts next week.

1 comment:

Bonnie Way aka the Koala Mom said...

I think national holidays (like Thanksgiving) or weeks designated to bring attention to certain things (like the Bible) are a good way for us to stop and think about things that we otherwise ignore or take for granted. So while I hadn't heard about National Bible Week until I joined the CEB Blog Tour, I thought it was a cool idea. There are "National Weeks" for nearly everything else, so why not one for the Bible. :)