We Episcopalians are fortunate to have in our Daily Office Lectionary prescribed readings that take us through much of the Old Testament in a two year period and most of the New Testament several times in the same period. Some books get short shrift though. One of my favorites, the Proverbs, appears in the Lectionary only in the readings for Proper 3 in Year 2, and, of necessity, just a very small portion of the Book of Proverbs is used. I remarked to a friend recently that if people were more familiar with the Proverbs and their cautionary advice, they wouldn’t get in so much trouble. My suggestion to you today is just that: familiarize yourself with the Proverbs. In the words of one of our Collects “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” them. You’ll even find in them some familiar sayings about the source of which you might long have wondered.
And the approach I recommend to you is not to just get your Bible and read them once. No, like the Psalms, they are most beneficial through repetition. So I recommend adopting a way to read them on a frequent basis, as part of either morning or evening prayer, or noonday, or something. Notice that the Book of Proverbs is in 31 chapters. That suggests an obvious approach; one chapter a day, using the chapter that corresponds to the day of the month. That is, on the 15th of the month, chapter 15; chapter 21 on the 21st and so on. This is similar to the approach Thomas Cranmer laid out for reading the Psalms. Even if your reading is kind of randomly hit and miss, the chances are good that over a period of time you will experience them all to greater or lesser degree.
So dip in, and enjoy.
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 14-Oct-2014.