By Henry H. Reichner, Jr.
While I spent eight months to finish reading the Bible from creation to revelation. It is only a start!
It was a difficult, enjoyable and challenging experience.
It was difficult, not because I am legally blind, but rather because of the sheer enormity of the task. I did most of my reading and listening in the still of the night and often wondered at the genius of the authors of the King James Version and how they were inspired.
It was enjoyable because of my own memory of biblical tales of my childhood and the familiar words of long forgotten hymns. These last distracted me somewhat as I hummed the tunes in my head while reading or listening. Responding to the challenge was the spiritual equivalent of a long pilgrimage. On my way I met a plethora of characters: faithful and unfaithful, priests and prophets, saints and sinners, heroes and heroines and I could go on and on. Shades of Chaucer!
It was challenging, not because of the length of this epic of epics but rather the strain on my comprehension. In the Old Testament, I was treated to the relationship of God with his chosen people. What a recalcitrant bunch they were. Their attitude toward the Ten Commandments (a theme woven throughout both testaments) was forgetful. “What have you done for me lately” was their attitude until they got into trouble. They forsook the gift of faith. Yet God comes through as sometimes wrathful, sometimes forgiving and sometimes forgetting. The New Testament and its story of redemption did help to clear things up.
While I had frequent contact with the Bible in the past, particularly during the time of my service as Rector’s Warden at St. Thomas’ and as a lay reader of the Episcopal Church in Haiti, my absorption was in fits and starts. Now, in a sense, I have put it all together. Yet there is no such thing as finishing with the Bible. It is a trip through eternity. Is it also a reminder of ourselves?