Reading Together

‘One more, Mummy?’

Being at home has meant more stories. Stories after breakfast, stories before nap time, stories if someone is feeling a little sad, and stories before bed. The quality of book varies – superhero adventures being quietly slipped to the bottom of the pile whenever possible – but gathering closely together turning pages is always precious. Even if we’ve read the same story five times already that day.

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There’s something about reading together.

My mum and I love to talk about books together, delighting in conversation about novels that we’ve both read. A list of recommendations from her has just landed in my inbox, and I’m looking forward to sifting through, getting stuck in and then chewing them over with her on the phone. Reading together as we reflect on what we’ve digested in different time zones and on different continents.

Dogger, Pirates Love Underpants, George’s Marvellous Medicine and the latest Hilary Mantle thread in and out of my days and weeks, but I also love to read the Bible.

Precious moments in the hour before everyone else gets up are spent digging into Isaiah at the moment, mulling the enormity of God’s amazing rescue of His people through His servant, Jesus. Time alone, in the Word, with my God.

But – as my church small group will tell you as I bang on about it! – I love reading the Bible with other people. That ‘with other people’ bit has previously been over a coffee, or during a nap time with children sleeping upstairs. But now it is with physical distance, from various kitchen tables, through the medium of a screen. Not quite as easy to connect, scribble down diagrams to help explain or have a  giggle while making a cup of tea, but still precious, privileged time  reading the Word with other people.

Wednesday nap times are currently filled with a little zoom gathering of mums from church, and we’ve just started reading 1 Thessalonians together. Amidst the assurances that Paul abundantly throws at this young Thessalonian church, there’s wonderful clarity on what is happening as we read the Bible. He says that the gospel came not just in word, ‘but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction’. This is more than the words that populate my other books, this is words that are packed with power, with the Holy Spirit and that bring convinced, rock-solid belief. As we open the word of God, it is literally packing a Holy Spirit-filled punch and it impacts hearts, minds and the lives we lead.

What a joy, then, to read that powerful Word together, and to see God at work in myself but also in others. If you’ve never tried it, why not give it a go – theological qualifications not needed, just the powerful Word, a teachable, willing heart and a desire to share it with other people.

Maybe you’ve never read the Bible for yourself, and are wondering what all the fuss is about – it’s definitely open to those who aren’t sure what they think, as much as to those who think they do. Ask me, ask any Christian you know – it would be a joy to read the Bible with you.

(And when we’re not reading books…see below…)

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