Wednesday, January 09, 2013

update for 1-09-13 - full pastor's column!

Notes From My Knapsack

[for 1-09-13 "Newark Christian"]

We're barely into the new year of 2013, and what's the parson talking about but: Lent! 

That's right, Lent. The season of prayer and preparation to approach Easter will begin February 13th, and 40 days plus Sundays, on towards March 31st.

We have a long-standing tradition at Newark Central of Wednesday night Lenten dinners, following an Ash Wednesday service which will be Feb. 13th at 6:00 pm, then the dinner programs in Fellowship Hall on Feb. 20 and 27, Mar. 6, 13, and 20. Stay tuned for our guest presenters and meal preparers for these simple soup & sandwich suppers.

During Lent, with those 40 days, I have a proposal. We will have some commitment cards in the bulletin the next couple of Sundays, and they will be for you to make a commitment to yourself, not to the pastor or the church. Mainly between you and God.

There are 260 chapters in the New Testament, Matthew's Gospel to John's Revelation, all 27 books. If you were to read seven chapters a day, with Saturdays off and a skip day or two just to give you some flexibility, you could read the whole New Testament (7 chapters a day!) by Easter morning right down to Revelation 22.

To be fair, I know there's a goodly number of you who've read the whole New Testament (hat tip to y'all!), and I also know there's more than a few who really, really have meant to get around to doing that . . . so this is the Lent to get it done!

And even if you're already taken the full tour through what God has to say in the "Apostolic literature," here's a new suggestion. Frank Viola, a Bible teacher & preacher, has proposed a sort of chronological order of the books of the New Testament. As most of you know, we have the library of the NT organized with four gospels, a bunch of letters, most from Paul, a few from others, then the closing prophetic vision of Revelation. It's not chronologically organized, and your reading of it "straight through" can cause a fair amount of back-flipping and flip-backing.

Viola offers this sequence, not in order of events, but in the order they were (possibly) written, to help you feel the development of Christian thought & belief:

Galatians, James, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Corinthians, Romans, Mark, Matthew, and Luke; Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians, I Timothy, Acts, Hebrews, Titus, John; I, II, & III John, I Peter, II Timothy, II Peter, Jude, and finally Revelation.

Or, you could try Marcus Borg's proposed sequence:

I Thessalonians, Galatians, I Corinthians, Philemon, Philippians, II Corinthians, Romans, Mark; James, Colossians, Matthew; Hebrews and John; Ephesians, Revelation, Jude, I, II, & III John, Luke; Acts, II Thessalonians, I Peter, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, and finally II Peter.

Either way, it's an experience of the New Testament that might well bless your Lent this year!

In grace and peace, Pastor Jeff

No comments:

Post a Comment