Somewhere in the bible it says that it is not what goes in that matters, but what comes out. I hear that one a lot. I have used that one a lot. Except I never applied that to the bible itself. The bible was all good. Above being questioned.
Except you can stuff me full with love – doesn’t mean love will come out. And you can stuff me full of hatred – doesn’t mean hate has to come out either. So you can read the bible all day long – doesn’t mean anything good goes in or comes out.
And that, for me, is why this stuff matters – why questioning the bible has value – why what I need of the bible is important.
Because my need is what I look for in the bible. And what I find is what goes in and what comes out. And that makes the bible all about me. And NOT about God or religion or rules – or any of that “stuff” we argue about for ever.
I sat and pondered after writing it – and I think that is tight: the bible is about me and not about “God”. Because even before I begin to read – it is “all about me” and my choices. And I never thought about “the bible” like that before.
We are arguing about “me” not “God”.
So how has my need of the bible changed … ?
“The stories I want to share – III” – 30th March 2014
Today I was given a precious gift. The gift of Love. It is rare for it to be given so freely, so uninvited, and so without fanfare. So powerfully it was a glimpse of how it must be when we “desire to please Him” without doing anything at all.
By a small three-year old child. Our grandson Alfie. Of whom I talk every now and then. Alfie who is unaware he is labelled with Down’s syndrome.
Today, among family, a quiet and peaceful meal – a sunny garden relaxation for our two mothers on Mothers’ Day – today our wee grandson sat on my knee.
Nothing unusual in that. We do that a lot. And when he wants to go, he slides off my knee and goes. To someone else. To something else. Never a word of explanation. Alfie doesn’t do words as in conversation. Alfie does language we have to understand. We don’t need words. Although the few he has gained recently are diamonds more precious than jeweled trinkets.
One thing Alfie does is to keep moving. He rests with us – with me – for a short time then moves on.
Apart from today. Today he stayed. Today he fell asleep on me. It has never happened before.
I mentioned this to his lovely and wise mother, our daughter. She smiled and replied it had only happened once to her. She remembered when and where. It is indeed rare for Alfie to “stay that long”.
And as I tucked a blanket over his bare toes, as I gently rearranged position (he became “heavier” over a couple of hours), as the joy of being slept on continued … God and me?
We caught each other’s eye and smiled at each other.
I am not speculating on what goes through Alfie’s head. I only know what went through mine.
That without doing a thing – not one thing – other than “staying”, Alfie gave me a wondrous afternoon. By doing nothing, by saying nothing, by being nothing. Other than who he is.
And that is why God and I caught each other’s eye and shared the moment. It was a moment when I truly “got it”. Truly got what He so lovingly wants us to get. All of us.
That He Loves Me. He Loves You. Full Stop.
That the greatest gift is not just in “doing” … not just in “giving” … nor in “service” … nor in any of the gratitude stuff … the sin stuff … the being good stuff. None of that.
Because we cannot be loved more. We cannot be loved better. We cannot do anything at all to earn more. He Loves Us.
And the greatest gift we can give is just being ourselves.
Being who he created us to be. Being the real us. Staying instead of going. Sleeping in his arms rather than running around all the time. Resting in his arms peacefully, trustingly, lovingly … freely.
He Loves Us. That much.
And the absolute best bit of today? After our daughter’s family left. I became immersed in my bible reading website. Immersed in words. Immersed in writing. Yet the “techie bit” of editing that post on my iPad got in the way. I wasn’t able to finish that bunch of words.
Which gave my loving lord some space to get my inner ears working properly. To hear him say:
“Alfie … you … me … this afternoon is us … is Love. The bible will wait … all that slice and dice will wait. Why not write a post about us? Why not write about Love and this moment? Write about that Paul. Please … ?”
Some afternoons are good. And some are so God filled they overflow.
These are the stories I want to share.