When I first found The Message version of the Bible, the whole thing came alive for me.
There are so many translations but this version, by Eugene Peterson, is my favorite. My Bible actually has the NIV version next to the Message so it’s the best of both worlds. As you know, I love writing and reading and words so now I have the Amplified Bible too – just to see the different words for each passage. We also have the ESV and the King James and a bunch of study Bibles and well, you get the point.
There is a lot of chatter out there on this topic. I have no interest in debating with the scholars. I just know that in reading the Message, it has felt like God was sitting with me in my living room. It has felt like He is in my marriage and my parenting and my worry and my loneliness and my laughter. No longer was this a book to sit on a shelf and never be opened. This was a living, breathing, manual for life. These words were leaping off the page into my heart and found me shouting yes! yes! like Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch. Minus the crazy.
No these words are not crazy. They are true. They are not only for the past, they are for NOW. These words are alive and transformative and centering. These words scream “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”. These words comfort and heal and give hope and usher in peace and bring tears and laughter and wonder.
Words are so important.
The other day I learned that the word “repent” can be translated as “return” and that pretty much changed my life. No joke. This feels like it needs a whole other blog post or maybe a book. But if we just encouraged everyone to see the word “repent” – when Jesus says it, when the church says it – if we could replace that word with “return”, think of the difference. It’s not repent because you are terrible and awful and horrible. It’s return to Jesus and His path and the truth. It’s not you are doomed and miserable- it’s not a scary, depressing word…it’s you’ve just wandered away…it’s time to return. See? It’s hope and expectation and promise and reconciliation.
One of our required reading books for Holy Yoga is written by Eugene Peterson and it’s a guide to reading scripture. So he’s one of my favorites. I picture him sitting down translating the entire Bible so more people can feel the Word come alive. The work. The time. The commitment. Thank you Eugene Peterson for your obedience.
One of my personal missions in life is to recognize the Word of God, the truth of God, the LOVE of God in today. In the here and now. In our conversations and our jobs and our parenting and our relationships and our art. Music is big for me and this conversation between Bono and Eugene Peterson just blew me away. It’s like all the worlds I love collided.
When I think of Bono, I can’t help but remember when a friend was at the U2 concert and she called me and just held the phone up and then screamed, “Bono is God!” into the phone. It makes me laugh. Honestly, he’s pretty cool but not God. I do love the way he worships on stage and the way he honors God with his music.
Looks like I’m not the only one inspired by The Message. Enjoy this.
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