Have you ever seen in the bookstore or library a list of “Best Sellers?” It is a list of books that people are currently buying and reading. Who remembers people standing in lines to purchase the Harry Potter books when they were first coming out? Did you know that there is not just one “best seller list” in the publishing world? There are lists for the best selling fiction (made up stories) and best selling non-fiction (true stories or informational). There are lists of hard cover books, paperback books, children’s books, and I think now even electronic books! But there a book that has been a best seller for AGES--the Bible.
The Bible is actually a collection of smaller “books” without their separate covers. There were written by different people, at different times, and for different groups of people. They all have their special point of view about God and how people live in light of that. There is a Hebrew Bible. The first five books are called the Torah that is read during Jewish Shabbat services. And there is a Christian Bible with some of the same books, but more too. A group of Christians met together at the First Council of Nicaea in the year 325! and they decided which books would make up the Christian Bible. Even today different Christian Bibles aren’t all the same.
Inside the Bible's smaller “books” are so many stories! You will find stories of brave and foolish people, of wars and long journeys in the desert, kings and queens, beggars and thieves. There is trickery and family arguments, but there is also poetry and rules to live by. There are stories of miracles happening (when something happens that is amazing or hard to explain). Stories of something bigger, a mystery some call Yahweh or God. People have been telling these stories for a VERY LONG TIME. Whether you think the stories are possible in the real world or not, you might be surprised by the “truth” in them. People always have questions, fears, hopes and dreams no matter where or when they have lived. People always have had trouble getting along 100 percent of the time. Many people today like to read and discuss these stories and remember them to each other.
Over the year we will be exploring the characters and ideas in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles AND as Unitarian Universalists we will ask questions, compare them to our lives and other stories, traditions, myths.
(from: Our Roots and Perennial Questions: Important Names, Stories and Ideas from the Hebrew and Christian Bibles by Mary B. Collins, Director of Religious Education, UU Congregation of Danbury, CT)