Dear Friends in Christ,
“…their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, they meditate day and night” (Psalm 1: 2).
Welcome to 2021: The Year of Generosity. Our focus this year will be on Funding the Mission. God has a mission, and God’s mission has a church, and God’s church is full of generous people who have abundant gifts and resources; gifts and resources that we are called to share. In the Book of Acts, Jesus reminds us that, “…It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35c). The spiritual practice of generosity is at the heart of following Jesus.
Another important spiritual practice is the daily reading of sacred Scripture. I know that many of you practice daily devotions that are grounded in Scripture and Prayer. This daily spiritual practice has been foundational for me, and even more so during these last 11 months of global pandemic.
In 2019, during the Year of Scripture, many of us, across the Northwestern Ohio Synod, read through the entire Bible together. During 2021, the Year of Generosity, I want to invite you to read through the New Testament writings in chronological order. We will begin with the New Testament Epistles of St. Paul, wind our way through the Gospels and the Book of Acts, work our way through Revelation, and close with a re-reading of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke.
Now Scripture scholars are all over the map when it comes to dating the 27 books of the New Testament. Though most would agree to start with St. Paul and finish with Revelation. The reading guide that we have put together is an approximate chronological order with some seasonal emphases. Though it would have been ideal to place all of St. Paul’s Letters together, Lent and Easter come early this year, and I thought it would be good for us to read the Passion of St. Mark together during Holy Week. I also wanted us to take a slow read through the Book of Acts this summer, as a reminder that the Jesus movement is still a movement, and that together we remain, “On the Way”. In the Fall, we will enjoy a slow and steady reading from the Gospel of John.
Our Coordinator of Communications and Technology, Caroline Guy, has put together this awesome New Testament Reading Guide. For those who lean into technology simply click on the daily Scripture reading and there it is! For those of us who prefer turning paper pages, simply print off the guide and place it in your Bible for daily reference.
I look forward to the many conversations and reflections that the 2021: The Year of Generosity Bible Reading Guide promises to bring.