Round the Bible Revisited

Bible Challenge logoAround 1000 people accepted my challenge to read “Round the Bible in 40 days” cover-to-cover during Lent this year. We all travelled at different speeds and some are still en route, and we all got different things out of it. It was nearly always an encouragement, but the Old Testament often posed questions to us that we hadn’t wrestled with for a while.

Forty ministers, lay and ordained, wrote a daily reflection to go on this blog. They were too good to lose, so I have now gathered up their fragments into a single booklet that you can download here.

I have also produced a version of the introductory booklet (with reading plan and general bible notes) that is not tied to Lent but can be used at any time. You can download that  here, so – if you haven’t already – why not take up the challenge too and Read Round the Bible in 40 Days.

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Well done, Beth!

Beth Cope has finished the RTB40 challenge, and was interviewed on the Radio Cambridgeshire Breakfast programme about her experience. The  housework got rather left behind but she valued the opportunity to read the whole thing, the difficult bits as well as the easy bits.

Beth is at around 1 hour 27 mins at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p00g5mmr

Now she’s going to go back and read it in more depth.

RTB finale photalbum

More shots of the Final Reading, showing many of the readers. It was a blessing to have so many people there willing to have a go. Thankyou!

Day 41!

A glitch in transmission yesterday meant that we missed some final words from + Stephen.  But that gives me the opportunity, writing on Easter morning, to reflect on the wonderful finale we had in the Lady Chapel. Everything went according to plan, except that I hadn’t expected to fill up with tears and a choking throat as we read the very final Amen at the end of Revelation.

The earlier chapters revisit in  a way some of the smiting of the Old Testament and raise again the issues of Rob Bell’s recent bestseller Love Wins. In the end he concludes, if I read him right, that God’s will and hope is that everyone will be saved; but his love and justice also mean that (1) he gives us free will; and that (2) if we really do choose not-God (evil, injustice, hate, harm, violence) then that will be our inheritance. Our choice. So in a way the fiery lake does need to be there, with our fervent prayer that no-one would be daft enough to choose that as their heaven.

So on Easter morning I am praying that more and more people – all people – will hear the good news of God’s love in Christ and choose that love and that life, whether they do that in a way I can recognise, or a way that only God can see and know (because he is the judge and the only one who sees all our hearts).

 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore! Amen.
Amen! Come Lord Jesus!
Amen!

+ David

RTB Finale photo

RTB finale

So here I am with Lesley-ann and Charlotte, the two Ridley students who led the final leg of our Bible read in the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral. They were great! And it was fascinating to hear them talking about how they encouraged each other in the Big Read by reading to each other on Skype. They’ve decided to carry on and read the Apocrypha too!

Thanks to Lesley-ann for the photo.

Round the Bible reactions – audio clips after the finale service

We had a wonderful final reading and finale service this morning, and I was going to show you some pictures, but they somehow disappeared into the ether. (Probably when I pressed the delete button – I know.)

Happily I did manage to record some of the RTB participants giving their reactions to the whole project, and you can listen to them yourself if you go to my audioboo page at http://audioboo.fm/bpdt.

(And if anyone else took some photos…)

Now what?

Congratulations to everyone who has been part of our journey, writing reflections and reading along with us. An RTB40 Certificate can be downloaded here: no cheating now! If you’d a personally signed one, just drop me an email at bishop.huntingdon@ely.anglican.org and I’ll post it out.

I’ve been thrilled with the way in which people have rallied round the idea, writing for me, accepting Bibles to read, posting comments, and all the rest. Do continue to post comments on the blog or Facebook as to what RTB40 has meant for you.

After Easter I aim to reshuffle the blogsite to set the material up to be used in any 40 day period. I am also considering putting the reflections into a booklet form for easy dowload and use independently from the internet. Do let me know if you have thoughts about how things should develop or not.

I have accepted quite a number of speaking and preaching engagements along the lines of  “The Bible Then and Now”, with various blends of material covering the history and language of the King James Bible, developments in Bible translation over the years, what the Bible means to me personally, how we could study and use it now – and so on. If you’d like me to come and support an initiative in your locality, I’d love to come and help if I can. Again – an email is the easiest way to make contact.

Have a VERY happy Easter. Alleluia!