The What and Who of Meandering About

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sweeter then Honey

Psalm 119:98-103 - "Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

In the early 70's there was a PSA (Public Service Announcement) campaign entitled "Time for Timer".  These minute-long cartoons were played during Saturday morning cartoons and after school specials.  Timer was this nondescript yellow character that sang songs about healthy snacks, the wonders of cheese and the importance of eating right.  All of his PSA's started the exact same way, "It's time for timer..."

The one I remember most is "You Are What You Eat."  Timer moved through the digestive system to remind children everywhere that in order to be healthy and to grow up big and strong they must eat right.  After all, "you are what you eat". 

I am not sure how effective the campaign was.  I mean, nearly forty years later, I still eat garbage. However, I do remember the ad campaign.  I guess it depends on your definition of success.

In Eat This Book, author, speaker and pastor, Eugene Peterson encourages his readers to read the Bible as if they were eating it.  He says, the practice of "spiritual reading" (also known as lectio divina) is "reading that enters our souls as food enters our stomachs, spreads through our blood, and becomes holiness and love and wisdom" (p. 4).  This echoes what the psalmist says in the passage above.  The poet writes, "I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"  For the psalmist, the word of the Lord had become reading that enters the soul and transforms the life in the same way food enters the stomachs and transforms the body. 

Yes, reading Scripture can be difficult, but so can eating the right foods.  In the same way that we cannot expect an apple to be good for us simply because we like to think of apples or because we enjoy the way apples look or because we like they way an apple feels in our hands, we cannot expect the words of Scripture to be transformative simply because we like to think they are good or because we enjoy the way the words sound or because we like the way the book feels in our hands. It is important to engage the words.  We must allow them to enter into us.  Sometimes they may cause us indigestion.  However, the words of Scripture also have the power to transform us as they become a part of who we are.  After all, we are what we eat.

Happy eating during this season of Lent.

If you are struggling with where to start, try reading a Psalm a day.  If you would like to have something that goes with the season of Lent, try reading the book of John.  If you would like a little variety, try reading one of the lectionary texts of the day (to find these texts, check out this website http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/).

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