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Sabbath Evenings – The Remote

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

This past week I watched a movie stretched over a couple of days.  Usually I watch a movie in one sitting – but not this time due to a lack of time.  I watched “Girl, Interrupted” [A great counselor-type movie].  The TV remote helped the bit-by-bit viewing go a little smoother.  I could hit the pause or play button anytime and my movie picked up right from where I left off.  Re-wind positioned me to take in a powerful scene or hear one of those memorable and salient lines from the script again. I liked that – a lot!  I used fast-forward for squeamish or difficult scenes [although I am disciplining myself to stay with these sorts of scenes].  All in all, I would say the remote enhanced my movie watching experience and I think I would do it again.

Every two years I read through the Bible [this is only my second time, so don’t be impressed].  Thinking ahead for the 2010-2012 reading of those 66 books, I wanted to  approach the biblical narrative differently.  In the past, with the grandest of intentions to read through the Bible, I routinely ended up pressing play at Genesis 1.1 only to pause – somewhere around Leviticus and fast-forward to the the Gospels.   This time I would set about my daily reading as an active player in the story.  I wanted to be involved – to be engaged with the characters and the stories.  I also wanted my faith to be impacted – my senses stirred.  Most of all, I knew I would be following God around as he followed people around – watching and knowing Him better – internalizing the whole story as He intended.  Taking it all in – seeing my need for a Savior – a Redeemer.  Play, pause, fast-forward, rewind – I wanted to press them all.

It’s mid-February now.  I am deep into Exodus.  While reading Genesis last month,  I launched my internal “remote.”  I hit play during the episode of Jacob and marveled at his life of deception, brokenness and redemption.   I hit rewind during the chain of events in Abraham’s story.  Did his wife Sarah really mistreat and abuse her maidservant Hagar?  I just had to go back and get that scene again.  I wanted to write down those words Hagar spoke about God when she was in the grip of agonizing betrayal and rejection: “He is the God who sees me.“(Genesis 16.13a)  And fast forward?  I dare say “lists” of people tempted me to skip to the good parts.  In  Genesis 19, I wanted to press the fast-forward when Lot offered his daughters to those ravaging thugs in Sodom and Gomorrah.  I am now in the wilderness epic of the Exodus and the Israelites.  My remote is running hot these days!  So many more scenes I could jabber on about, but my favorite part, so far, has been intently watching my God through all of these scenes – I see His unfailing love along with  justice, and mercy [oh my, the mercy]. I have observed His creative genius and purposes for a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29.10) for His people – people matter to God!

When reading the Bible, what’s your favorite re-wind?  Do you fast-forward through the  squeamish or difficult scenes?  Do you ever just hit play without engaging the story, or simply switch-off the remote altogether?  Where do you press pause and take time to reflect – and then return and hit  play again?

Categories: Sabbath Evenings
  1. Kathy Woods
    February 21, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Really enjoyed this, Lisa. I love finding out about the people God has planted in my life. I have also started out on many a journey to read the Bible from front cover to close, fast forwarding to Psalms and then to the New Testament. Maybe, I too will try to read with a different point of view. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • February 22, 2010 at 8:24 am

      “Cover to Close.” I like those words together. Glad we are on the journey together, Kathy.

  2. February 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm


    Do you use Today’s Light? My friend Jane Fryar has walked me through the Bible several times, now. I seem to have the hardest time with the prophets. At the moment I am reading Moses’ sermons in Deuteronomy. Thank you for taking the time to blog. I know I will be blessed by your insights.

    • February 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

      Kim, I used Today’s Light for my first 2-year read through the Bible. I had tried the Daily Walk (put out my Navigators, I think) – but found that it did not have enough Gospel for me. I was always feeling the yoke of the Law without any hope of the Gospel. Another professor’s wife on campus directed me to Jane’s writings – I have found them refreshing and I get that Gospel–Good news I need. I am in Exodus now – starting chapter 30 today. Thanks for posting.

  3. Susan Roberts
    February 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Too bad we cannot fastforward thru the squeemish parts of our life. I saw this movie several times. It was me. It was a me that no one knew. How many people tried to skip the hard parts? How many of us don’t want to look back at the parts that are had to look at. Reality is…sometimes you have to look back and learn so you can move forward.
    I must tell you, I admire your goal to read the Bible…again. I have tried several time, and have finally resolved that it is good, just to sit and read a little and study a little. I guess I would call it “life interrupted”, but it is all good.

  4. February 22, 2010 at 8:29 am

    “Life, Interrupted.” That would make a great devo title, Susan. Your post tells me you have “lived life.” It’s intense suffering – it’s intense joy – no matter where the remote is pointing. I liked “Girl, Interrupted” and will watch it again.

  5. February 25, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Lisa, have you seen the movie “Click” with Adam Sandler? An online reviewer describes the movie this way: “A workaholic architect finds a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. Complications arise when the remote starts to overrule his choices.” To take your “Remote Experience” one step further, what if the remote started controlling you, your decisions, and the outcomes?

    • February 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm

      Sarah, I have not seen this movie, but may have to. In fact, I really love when movies intersect with counseling. When clients don’t really like to read, I may suggest a movie for them to watch, or send them down to the art museum, or have them listen to some suitable music. Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. February 25, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Lisa, FYI: There is a very sad moment towards the end of the movie.

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