It could be argued that the Bible is the most important and influential book in Western history. I don’t think many would dispute that, even today.
Whilst I would not describe myself as conventionally religious, I certainly do have a long running, off and on, interest in all things biblical.
By non-conventional, I mean that during my life I have explored several religions other than Christianity, such as Buddhism for example.
Grateful for my Indoctrination?
I was brought up nominally in the Church of England. When I was a child we had a religious service every morning at school, from the age of 5 to 18. This leaves an indelible impression upon everyone, whether one is religious or not.
I have to say, although I felt like rebelling against such teachings as a youngster from time to time, I am now extremely grateful to have had that ‘indoctrination’. I do believe morality is important, it gives us a rudder in life, and whilst we can quibble as to the morality of the institutions, I do think that the Bible itself is crucial, especially in regard to canon and common law, the latter especially being a foundation of our civilisation.
Now, I have seen it and heard it said before about randomly opening the Bible and seeing which verse one’s finger points to. I am not entirely sure what this might ‘prove’ but as I also have a strong interest in divination and spirituality, I thought I would give it go, just to see what would happen.
I opened my oldest copy of the King James Version, and my finger fell upon Acts 12, verse 21: “And the hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.”
What are my thoughts? Well, my interpretation of this apparently random act, is that like many of us, I have been questioning how long this world crisis will continue. I think I would certainly welcome some divine intervention, some sign to say that God is still with us; Heaven knows it’s been difficult to believe that at times, especially this year.
So do we look to the skies for signs, or perhaps detect them in the more subtle events in our lives, which may suggest that we will get through this and emerge stronger and more spiritually aware on the ‘other side’?
This verse from Acts is at the very beginning of Christianity. Christ’s followers too were looking for signs. Perhaps if we can simply look for the work of God in our lives, in the simple things, realising that there is a greater power beyond all of us who may indeed work in mysterious ways, we can look forward with more patience and tolerance, knowing that life can and will go on. We have to have faith that a new and better world will emerge. This was my instant, personal interpretation of the verse. You may disagree.
I guess that’s quite a lot to make from a few words in Acts of the Apostles, but I think we must look more deeply, or in scientific terms, begin to use more of our playful right brain rather than the more judgmental and exacting left brain which dominates our lives too much at times.
I may pursue this idea — to see which verse my finger will point to on forthcoming days.
Copyright Francis Barker 2020