I picked up my first summer beach book this weekend, Dan Brown’s Inferno. I love summer reads, they are like movies this time of year, exciting, thrilling, keeping you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what comes next. It’s been awhile since the last Dan Brown book so I have been totally anticipating the thrill of discovering new codes, obscure secret organizations and how a professor can save the world. So far it has not disappointed. The first scene, Robert Langdon wakes up in the hospital from a nightmare about a
woman, red water, and dead bodies. He finds out he has been shot and doesn’t know why. I am hooked already. I want to know how this will connect to Dante’s Inferno and what codes and connections Robert Landgon will make and will he inspire me to do research on Dante’s inferno. Brown’s books while thrilling adventures always make me think and ask how much is true about the art or architecture he is exploring and are the organizations real and if so how nefarious are they really.
This got me to thinking about summer reading plans and how to incorporate our faith into our summer plans. Not many of us put the Bible in our pile of beach reading books. We often see summer as a time to step away from church and explore other options on the weekends. But what if this summer, we take a bible along as beach reading. Now I know your thinking, but have you read Leviticus and stopped your journey through the bible because the lists were just too much to take. And my honest answer would be sometimes. Sometimes I get stumped by the begats, the laws, and the smiting of enemies. But …there is a depth and richness that can be found in the God’s word. I like to approach passages in the bible like a mystery waiting to be revealed. As John Robinson said, “There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God’s Holy Word.” So how do we explore this light and truth and see God’s word as a mystery waiting to be opened before us? First choose a book in the bible that you want to spend the summer with. This book will then be divided with headings that will naturally divide the chapters into sections that are related to each other. Take one of those sections read it through slowly, letting the words settle into you. Read it again and let the words or phrase that shimmers or gets stuck in your head, stay with you. Use that word or phrase as a breath prayer, saying it over and over as you breathe in and out. Invite God to show you its significance in your life. Then read the passage again and seek what God is calling you to do or be. This practice is known as lectio divina. If you are more into the history of the bible, explore its deeper meaning by finding a study bible or concordance that will share with you the significance of this passage in its historical context. Showing you how this fits in with other similar passages and with the life of the people it was originally written for. The text then becomes a mystery to be solved with research that can be explored. I invite you to explore the mystery of God’s Holy Word this summer so that you may be bathed in the light and truth.