Many of us will remember the joy, warmth and mystery that we have experienced where parents or grandparents read to us as children or where we have in turn read to children. Books transport us to new places, enable us to walk in another’s shoes, stimulate our imaginations, build vocabulary and language skills, exercise our brain and build new connections, relax us, improve concentration and teach us about the world around us, our relationships and ourselves. Homes where reading abounds enable people to grow richly. Our brains are wired to grow through deep engagement with story. Research has shown that, unlike watching TV which encourages more passive brain activity, reading books grows a stronger understanding of other people’s beliefs and needs and our cognitive capacity.
The Bible through many stories teaches us about God’s relationship to us, how to be in good relationship with each other and ourselves and how to care for the planet. The stories speak to us differently at different points of our lives. We are invited to come into relationship with God through story. Rather than simply a list of do and don’ts, the Bible contains stories where we have space to engage, connect and shape understandings. Through the Bible, God’s wisdom continues to speak to people across the millennia of all backgrounds and ages. Reading provides space for richness to grow. It is worth creating space for reading for leisure and learning as part of the rhythm of our lives.