Last night I led the bible study at our housegroup – it’s been a long time since I have, and to be honest I found it very hard. I felt quite tense and awkward, although Andy assures me it went well. I love discussing the bible and always enjoy studies, but leading of course is very different. I think because I was straining against the underlying tiredness all the time that it was harder for me – normally I join in at certain points and then sit restfully listening the rest, but of course leading requires a lot more energy. Discussion certainly picked up as we went a long, but I’m not sure if I managed to put things across well. I felt frustrated at my own foggy headedness.
Still, on a similar topic, I am getting a lot more into bible study again. I’m rediscovering that eagerness, even desperateness, to learn about my faith, part of what led me to study theology in the first place. I’ve been doing some study on Wednesday and Saturday mornings – with my ‘programme‘ I have to get up the same time every day regardless, whereas Andy’s day off is Wednesdays and he doesn’t get up quite so early on a Saturday either.
So I’ve been going through the first chapters of Genesis. In real detail – I’ve only just reached the end of the flood narrative. I read a chapter or section, write down my thoughts in a journal, read various commentaries, again jot down any new thoughts, before moving on to the next chapter. Sometimes this takes more than one session, so I can be looking at the same chapter for two weeks. I started it as a kind of discipline, but unwittingly have been doing something that has needed doing for too long – feeding my faith, which has been rather flabby around the edges for some time.
Suddenly I realise I have a totally different attitude than I did a few months ago. I’m really enjoying it – seeking to learn more about the God of the bible from the bible, putting my cultural and historical influences aside and looking at it fresh, seeing it in its own context, and seeing more of the true meaning and motive of the text. I can feel an enthusiasm – no, a hunger, inside me, something I’d forgotten, that got lost somewhere but now is found. I find, with delight, that my soul does indeed yearn to meet with God, that I am sincerely seeking him not out of duty but need. At one point I was simply overwhelmed and sat there and prayed fiercely that I would know God for who he is not what we would have him be, or think he should be. I want God, not my idea of God. I may not be able to comprehend him, to get my head around his ways, but I love him and want him and that underpins everything.
Went for a lovely walk today, in a scrubby common, which doesn’t sound that great but it was gorgeous. Everything was reddish tinged, with spikes of white grass, swaying silver birches surrounding, with gnarly little trees dotted about, and bright yellow gorse to give an extra punch. Oh, and the blue sparkling water nearby, of course.
Gorgeous time of year for it. The branches were bare so all the birds could be seen, and we saw a lovely pair of bramblings among (you guessed it) the red-hued brambles.
Was sitting on the edge of the seat in the car, changing my shoes, when I glanced over at the marina opposite the car park, and saw a boat with her name printed in demure, neat lettering. It said ‘Optimist’.