Rise & Shine - December 16
How do the secular books we read effect our Christianity?
The Rise and Shine discussion group meets Sunday mornings at 9:00 am in the Parlor. Adults from the 8:00 & 10:00 services gather for discussions that are relevant to their lives through the lens of a current topic and scriptural references. This week's discussion outline can be read or downloaded below.
Rise & Shine, December 16th
The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by one shepherd. (For context, read 12:9-12.)
Question:What sayings or quotes have you collected that you hold as particularly wise and useful in your life?
In the News
People Move Books, Books Move People
The power of the written word to bring people together can be amazing. It turns strangers into friends through book clubs, allows acquaintances to share a moment of connection through small talk about a book or piece of news that they’ve read, and weaves together people of the past with people of the present as historical or famous writings survive and remain popular for generations.
Though bookstores are facing increasing pressure from the e-reader and online store movement, in many places they remain important places of gathering, and landmarks of the community. This is the case with October Books in Shouthampton, England.
October Books was founded in 1977 and has been a part of the Southampton community ever since, but rising rents for the property led its owners to consider purchasing a building of their own. However, without the funds to do so the situation seemed hopeless. So, in a last ditch effort, the bookstore launched a campaign over the summer to raise $400,000 to buy its own space. They achieved their goal through donations, crowdfunding, and people who made short term individual loans.
On a cold Saturday in November October Books opened in its new location. Funds were still tight when it came to moving, so the bookstore's operators put an announcement on Facebook asking for volunteers to help move stock. They said it would require heavy lifting, and the moving would be happening throughout the week.
The store's staff hoped that 100 people would step forward but the first day, some 250 showed up, and rather than lug heavy boxes of books, the volunteers soon realized that there were enough people to form a human conveyor belt between the two locations. On Sunday, the first day of the move, getting the store's inventory from its old location, which was about 500 feet down the street to the new one, was accomplished by some 250 local volunteers who formed a human chain and passed the books from hand to hand.
"It was just amazing," said Clare Diaper, an employee of the bookstore. "We started with 10 people having to run between shops and ended up with 250 people passing books." She added that she got "quite emotional" and found the level of community support "heartening."
Others soon got into the action. Nearby cafes brought cups of tea to the volunteers. Passersby and people at bus stops joined the chain themselves.
"We had elderly people, children and everybody in between," said Amy Brown, another of the store's staff members.The rest of the store's inventory, including more than 18,000 volumes and furnishings were moved by volunteers over the rest of the week, and the bookstore opened in its new location on schedule.
More on this story can be found at this link:
2 Timothy 4:13
When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.(For context, read 4:9-13.)
These are requests Paul made to his coworker Timothy. Regarding the books, biblical commentator John Gill surmises that Paul "was a great reader of books, of various sorts, both Gentile and Jewish, as appears by his citations out of the heathen poets (Acts 17:28; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Titus 1:12), and his acquaintance with Jewish records. And though he was now grown old, and near his exit, yet was mindful and careful of his books, and desirous of having them to read."
Questions:What books would you always want to keep even as you move from one house to another? What makes them valuable to you?
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.(No context needed.)
These verses can be read as being about the value of friendship or partnership, and indeed that's the case. But note that the last verse switches from the benefit of two to that of three, which in biblical numerology, often designated completeness. Even a friendship or partnership of two is a small community, so the verses can also be heard as affirming the benefits of community, regardless of number.
Question: When has the power of the written word brought you together with others you may not have typically associated with?
2 Peter 1:19
So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.(For context, read 1:16-21.)
Here, Peter calls the scriptures "a lamp shining in a dark place," telling his readers of the scripture's value. He is, in effect, being part of the human chain that passes along the testimony of the Bible.
In some ways you could say that we are all a human chain passing along scriptures -- whether we have a sampler on the wall with a verse, or a favorite text we recite at certain moments.
Question:In what ways do you participate in the human chain that passes the Christian faith from one generation to the next?
Prayer for the Right Use of God’s Gifts (BCP p.827)
Almighty God, whose loving hand hasgiven us all that we
possess: Grant us grace that we may honor youwith our
substance, and, remembering the account which we must one
day give, may be faithful stewards of yourbounty, through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.