A few months ago I threw out boxes full of books, mostly prescribed religious books I bought while studying. Over time I realised that these books are just gathering dust, their content and the content of my life are miles apart. To read it is to stand on one planet and listen to an alien on the other planet babbling on about the meaning of life on your planet.
It’s funny how quickly the world changes from one generation to the other.
I can imagine my grandkids reading this blog, thinking: “What was grandpa up to going on and on about God, Jesus, seasons, junk, boxes, life and related stuff. No wonder grandma looks so old...”
That’s the tricky thing with an ancient text like the Bible. Things did change. The world is not the same anymore. We’ve evolved, although sometimes I am not sure whether it was for the better. Over time the subtleties, the humour, the meaning, the language, the symbols and the metaphors faded into the massive changes the world made since then.
Between us and the text is a gap, so big, wide and deep that very few find the relevancy for their own lives to really try and cross it.
But still the Text had an original intention. A power behind it that changed and influenced a specific community in a specific time and place.
To discover this first intention(s) of the Text, we need to get on the other side.
Why did Paul write to Timothy? What did Luke hope for in telling the story of Jesus to his friend? What did Mark wished would happen to his friends after they read his version of the life, death and (re)life of Jesus? What was the longing behind the dreams of John on the island Patmos?
Behind these stories lie a prayer, a wish, a longing and a hopeful dream. An idea of the Way life can be, waiting to become a flesh and bone reality.
The idea is to keep on reading, keep on listening and keep on bridging the gap until the intention of the story happens with us.
If this does not take place in the lives of the readers of the Text, then it’s just another old book, gathering dust.