The Creative Voice Within (January 29, 2013)

…Opening To…

We say we read to “escape.” …A book so excites our imagination that we “consume” it… What would it feel like to consume the sacred book? Or to be consumed by it? To eat it, chew it, swallow it, digest it, to make it a part of you? (Roger Ferlo)

…Listening In…

[The Ethiopian eunuch] was reading the prophet Isaiah while sitting in his carriage. The Spirit told Philip, “Approach this carriage and stay with it.” (Acts 8:28-29; context)

…Filling Up…

The second thing you should do when you read the Bible is to read it aloud. In the passage above, Philip knew that the Ethiopian eunuch was reading from the prophet Isaiah because the eunuch wasn’t reading silently to himself. He was reading aloud – to himself. This may seem strange to you and me, but this was the way people read in the ancient world. There was no such thing as “silent” reading.

So read your passage out loud. I know you are reading a translation, but the beauty and rhetorical power of the Biblical texts do not necessarily suffer in an English treatment. When you read aloud, you will notice oratorical patterns and cadences that the Biblical writers employed to make recitation easier and listening more captivating.

Besides appreciating the oratorical flair of Biblical writers, reading aloud gives you the opportunity to engage the drama of the Bible. A good chunk of the text is narrative and a good chunk of the narrative is dialogue. Now, we have no audiovisual documentation of the conversations recorded in the narrative, so it falls to us to interpret how the dialogue sounds.

A trained musician may be able to “hear the music” when she looks at a score, but most of us cannot comprehend music’s beauty and power without hearing it played. Similarly, the Biblical text soars when it is read aloud. In Genesis, God speaks creation into being. When we read the Bible aloud, we access that creative voice within ourselves and use the breath and the bodies that God created.

So, read the Bible, yes. But don’t just read it. Speak it. And don’t just speak the Bible. Proclaim it.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you spoke and creation happened. Help me to breathe my life into the Bible just as you breathe your life into me. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, gladdened by the prospect of meeting you in the Bible.

One thought on “The Creative Voice Within (January 29, 2013)

  1. TImely reflection. Hearing gospel read in church a couple weeks ago really got my wheels spinning – how Jesus says “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me?” to Mary has all sorts of interpretive implications.

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