A Love Story
March 13, 2018
By Mary W. Brown
I want to tell you a love story.
I can’t remember the exact moment it started. I heard this book read out loud during worship before I could even understand what its words meant. In Sunday School I started to learn its stories through felt cut outs of rainbows and pyramids and big fish.
When I was fifteen my youth director suggested I read a chapter of this book a day, starting with the New Testament. I slowly worked my way through four gospels, and a book of Acts, and a bunch of letters, and a Revelation.
Day by day, I fell in love with this book.
But as I read, I also came across some material that was hard to love. The sermon on the mount (Matt 5-7) was frighteningly strict about anger and lust and divorce. 1 Timothy said women should sit in silence in church (2:8-15). When I turned to the Old Testament I found laws and slavery and war and murder.
By the time I finished college, I was sure of two things. One: that God was calling me into ministry. And two: if I was to teach this book to others… I’d need a lot of help.
So off to seminary I went.
I learned Greek and Hebrew. I studied commentaries. I listened to lectures. I was trained to “exegete” the text. This was still the book I loved… but reading it had become a lot of work. It felt like the honeymoon was over.
I graduated seminary. I was mentally exhausted.
A few years passed.
Then I got to teach “Disciple Bible Study.” My small class read through most of this book in just 32 weeks. I liked the experience so much, I gathered another group and did it again. Two years in a row we went from Genesis to Revelation. Reading it like this showed me something I had almost forgotten:
A love story.
Not just a love story between me and this book, but a love story between God and us. I saw it start with creation and move to covenant and kings and prophets; I saw it come to fullness in Jesus Christ; I saw it continue through the church and look toward Christ coming again. I saw and felt God’s great love, told through this book.
This is my love story.
I want it to be yours, too.
Open it up. Read a chapter. See what happens.
Mary Wood Brown is the pastor of Andrews UMC in the Smoky Mountain District
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