Praying and pondering with the bible in one hand and a newspaper in another provides a much needed balance for personal meditation, small faith community sharing, or preaching. For persons of faith, the bible is not merely a collection of historical books. It is the living Word of God. It chronicles God`s loving providence throughout salvation history. But, it also points us to the presence of the living God in the here and now.
Prayer is an encounter with God. Praying with the bible grounds that encounter in God`s Word. But the purpose of this encounter is not solely to seek personal consolations or spiritual fulfillment, though these are both blessings and grace. The purpose is for us to give life to the Word that we hear, to put into action that which is received. In order to know what action is needed, we must be tuned in to the signs of the times.
Reading newspapers or listening to the news is depressing. It is a challenge to maintain the virtue of hope when so many hopeless events unfold each day. The signs of our times are too often shouting of violence, hunger, natural disasters, wars, persecutions and death. Of course we cannot respond to all needs. We cannot solve the problems of the world in one fell swoop. But, by praying and pondering we can perhaps glean wee bits of wisdom. Perhaps we can be instruments of peace and reconciliation. Perhaps we can help a specific need by sharing our time or money. Perhaps all we can do is offer a prayer.
The bible alone can keep our head and heart too much in the clouds. The newspaper alone can keep us grounded in despair. But together……