One Year Bible: Christian Horoscope?

(Chatter Letter from the Editor, September) I have a tendency to treat my One Year Bible like a Christian horoscope. I don’t always read my One Year Bible, just so you know. Sometimes I read a devotional book, or a passage of Scripture from the lectionary, or even blindly open my Bible (secretly aiming for Psalms). Sometimes I get all crazy up in here and read straight from the Greek Vulgate. You know, ‘cause I’m a pastor’s kid. We pastor’s kids all speak vulgar Greek. But when I get a hankering to feast from a super-sized scriptural buffet — selected readings from the Old and New Testaments, Psalms, and Proverbs — I dust off my trusty One Year Bible. And I can’t help but expect that whatever Scripture passages I find have been slated from before the foundation of the earth for me to read today, September 1, and must apply to whatever awaits me in the next 24 hours. Maybe a verse encouraging perseverance is a bad omen. Maybe it means one of my kids will vomit today. But maybe a verse along the lines of “Praise the Lord, O my soul!” means I should expect a pedicure to flag me down on the side of the road in just a matter of minutes. I use my Bible like a fortune-teller uses a crystal ball, except with much less fascinating headwear.

One morning, exhausted, already on my second cup of coffee that wasn’t doing much good, I opened my One Year Bible to the day’s date. With bated breath, I read the first lines that I presumed were given to me that day. I was sure God had seen my exhaustion, my spiritual dryness, and the great effort with which I lugged out his Word to show I was still in this for the long haul. I was sure he had something very special planned for me because he knew I would need just the thing, just this day. The first passage I read was from Chronicles, and it might be worth noting that for a Christian reading her One Year Bible as a horoscope, the first passage your eyes fall upon probably “means the most” for the day.

The most riveting part of my Chronicles passage was hard to choose, but let this little snippet whet your appetite for more: “Hubel, a descendant of Gershom son of Moses, was the officer in charge of the treasuries. His relatives through Eliezer: Rehabiah his son, Jeshaiah his son, Jorum his son, Zicri his son and Shelomith his son.”

Seriously? This is what I get? Does this mean the rest of my day will be monotonous, tiring, hard to understand, difficult in terms of spelling? Fraught with distant relatives? It left me feeling like I had been overlooked and not a little bit foolish.

But then I got to thinking about the premise of my time with God. It had been to get a peek into the depths of my own life, to mine the caves of wisdom for the things I needed in order to get through another one of my days. It wasn’t about connecting with God independent of my circumstances and the future; it was about asking God to prop up my life instead of infusing my life.

I’m not saying the Chronicles passage would have been any more readable if my heart had been right, but it seems wrong to underestimate the power of God’s spirit within a person who is willing to sit down with a Bible and conform to its author and its author’s kingdom, regardless of what the day might bring. Someone willing to meditate on Scripture, no matter what Scripture, in order to connect with God and come under God’s jurisdiction. This seems like an attitude to which God will respond.

When your time with God is first and foremost a time to gather paperwork for the checkpoints in your day ahead, watch out. You might very well end up with some fascinating headwear, but a broken crystal ball. And a life that’s just too small.


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