While I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, I did set a few goals for myself for 2013, and one of them was to read the bible. Cover to cover. Seriously. While I’ve never been a huge bible reader at home, I use it constantly with my class. One of my favourite teaching resources ever is my “Bible Story Puzzles” book, full of worksheets that correspond with different scripture references. It’s a fantastic way to expose kids to Bible stories and give them something to “do” with them. Very helpful this year with a split grade too.
Anyway, back to my resolution. January had barely begun and I was digging into Genesis…and made my way through…but I have to say that the Old Testament just doesn’t provide me as much inspiration as the New Testament. The genealogy alone is mind-boggling!
I decided to skip ahead and read the Gospels next (it’s not like I don’t already know how the story ends) and I’ve been much more motivated. By Chapter 5 of the first Gospel, Jesus is already trying to undo several of the misconceptions from the Old Testament: “You have heard it was said to your ancestors ____________, but I say to you __________________” (repeated with several different examples). So I think I’m going to stick with what Jesus said.
Some of my favourite tidbits from the Gospel of Matthew:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father…when you give alms, do not let the left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (6: 1-4) This one is actually the Gospel for the Ash Wednesday Mass my class is preparing.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroys, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroy, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (6: 19-21)
“Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” (6:34)
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” (7: 13-14)
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few'” (9:37)
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account of every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (12:36-37)
and the beautiful end of Matthew’s Gospel:
“Then Jesus approached and said to them ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (28:18-20)