There are two versions of the significance of the “FIVE” in the Twelve Day Progression.
One represents the five books of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, and likely this is accurate, given the antiquity of the song. The other is that the rings stand for the five ministry gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 … apostles, prophets, evangelists, preachers, and teachers.
Either way, either five, clearly the Lord God meant that we, His sheep, should be tended, both by the Word and the ministers of it.
We mentioned yesterday the reading of the Gospels in the New Year. We will look again into the wonders of deep and penetrating study in Lectio Divina, but let us be reminded that anyone can do it!
One of us commented that a new method of Lectio has come to light. Here it is:
- Choose one book of the Bible
- Read it all the way through
- Repeat twenty times
- Repeat for every book of the Bible
If that isn’t a monastic venture, I don’t know what is! What makes it so is that it …. CLOSES US IN WITH GOD, ALONE WITH HIM, SPIRIT AND WORD.
One of my very favorite stories, a true story, was told to me of an evangelist who ministered around the world and often carried Bibles in his suitcase, even into countries where they were illegal.
In one island nation he met a pastor and gave him a Bible, the first the man had ever owned in its entirety. They talked and shared, the evangelist gave what help and comfort he could, and after a few days traveled on.
One year later he revisited the young pastor, and as they sat talking, the evangelist noticed a series of tic marks on the front flyleaf of the minister’s Bible.
“What are those marks you’ve made in your Bible, sir?” he asked. “Are those the number of books you have read so far?”
“Oh, no!” answered the younger man. “Those are my readings through this beloved book, so far this year.”
There were fourteen check marks on the page.
May I say: my mind balked at the idea of reading twenty times through Genesis or Deuteronomy or Jeremiah. I can, however, in the interest of full disclosure, read the entire Austen or Karon or Sayers series in a matter of weeks or months, so I can make a start, even if it’s only five times through. I won’t end my “five times through the Gospels” even when our five times through comes to an end, but I think I’ll make a beginning with this plan, in addition. It’s do-able.
I think I’ll start with the Book of Jude!
Marriage of funerary crown of gold, 4th century
Matthias Kabel, by permission, Wikipedia