Wednesday 24th March 2021
By Fred Coutts
In our own times
The pictures in this handwritten Bible are quite spectacular. It is thought that it was commissioned by King Louis IX of France (often called Saint Louis) in the mid 1240s during the time of the Crusades. When you see the illustration of the David and Goliath story you could easily believe that you were looking at the Crusader armies in the 13th Century, and not King Saul and the army of Israel in the 10th Century BC which was when David the shepherd boy had his spectacular success against the Philistine giant.
That Bible is now in the Pierpoint Morgan Library in New York and is sometimes called the Morgan Bible, the Crusader Bible or the Maciejowski Bible. (Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski (1548-1608) the Bishop of Kraków in Poland was the first recorded owner of the book.)
The artist monks who painted the pictures visualised the Bible stories taking place in their own times. They were doing something that we all do – allowing the Word of God to speak to us in our own times and places. The Word of God is not confined to the pages of a book. No, the book is like a light which we can shine on our contemporary experience and allow God to help us see his way for our lives and world. The Word of God is contained in the pages of the Bible, but the Word of God is also there to be heard as we use our minds to interpret for our own times what we read there.
Sydney Carder who wrote the hymn “Lord of the Dance” put it this way.
Your holy hearsay is not evidence:
give me the good news in the present tense.....
So shut the Bible up and show me how
the Christ you talk about is living now!
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
(Psalm 119: 105)
O God, you who are always doing a new thing,
we confess that we sometimes close windows
against the fresh air of new ideas,
against the noise of other people’s worries,
against the winds of change.
God of every place and time,
we confess that we often draw the curtains
against people who are different,
against world news or community concerns.
Forgive us our insulation in our locked homes,
our shuttered churches,
the security systems on our hearts.
Open up our lives,
and let your Spirit blow through.
Prayer by Teri on A Place for Prayer Blog.
Go now. Listen for the voice of God
and follow wherever it leads.
May God be with you and speak through you;
May Christ Jesus be one with you and raise you to life;
May the Holy Spirit be present within you and inspire you.