Just the other week it was the Service at which our Scout Group all reaffirm their promises... So members of all the various sections were taking part, from the Squirrels to the Scouts. My youngest son, who is a Beaver, was asked to read the Old Testament reading... which was exactly what happened to me around the same age...

I actually remember what it was to this day. Obadobadiah 1-11. Actually, it was Obadiah verses 1-11, but when I reahearsed it with my mum the night before I added in a couple of syllables. But my main problem wasn't the title, it was the content with all its talk of pillage and ransacking... I hadn't a clue what it was about. Have you ever read the book of Obadiah... No... didn't think so... Go read it... it will only take you 5 minutes... But it would take you to then read a commentary of 4 times the length to understand it. So what chance had I, as an eight year old child, got when it came to understanding what I was reading?

Mind you, why should I be worried. So often it seems as if the Bible passages read in church mean nothing to the reader. It may as well be the telephone book for all the sense that is drawn out of it. Is this because people don't bother to read it, never mind read it out loud before doing so in church? Or is it because they really think that it is as boring as they make it sound?

If we really believe that the Bible is, or contains the word of God then we should read it in a way that affords it the respect it is due. That doesn't mean putting on a special "I'm reading the Word of God" voice. But it does mean a wee bit of preparation an thought going into what you are reading.

But the question remains, what on earth was the minister in question doing getting an 8 year old boy to read such an impenetrable passage in public? Indeed, why was it being read at all at what was effectively a children's service? Now I'm not for running shy of the more difficult bits of the Bible... we shouldn't simply stick to the miracles and parables of Jesus (although some of those are quite challenging if we are really listening), but there is a time and a place for introducing people to the delights of Obadobadiah... And a children's service ain't it...


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