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February 9, 2021

“In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I am not afraid.” Psalm 56:10-11a

I’ve been reading more of late. Somehow, having reading assigned for class makes me do more reading that isn’t assigned for class, too. I’ve always been like this; I first read Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov during finals week in the fall of my junior year of college. Karamazov was not something with which I needed to be familiar for any of those exams! In just the last few weeks, I’ve read novels by Colson Whitehead, Dave Eggers, and Marilynne Robinson. Having explored the words and worlds written by these wonderful authors, I decided to go back to the words that did more than any other to instill in me a love of reading.

I came to Middle Earth through a set of paperbacks that belonged first to my brother, but to which I laid claim many years ago. I was ten when I first cracked open The Hobbit and, immediately thereafter, The Lord of the Rings. There was a period when I reread the trilogy every year. That time is passed; it’s been seven or eight years now. But Erika gave me a new set of paperbacks for Christmas, and over the weekend I opened up The Fellowship of the Ring; the magic is still there. The words are familiar as old friends; the joy is fresh as new snow.

However much I love Tolkien’s words, it’s is God’s Word to which I am drawn over and over again (a sentiment of which Tolkien would certainly approve). Beginning each day of this pandemic in the Word has been a constant source of sustenance. Crafting my own words in these devotions has been a discipline of immense value for me (if with varying results for the reader). The psalmist today invokes the power of God’s Word in our life as we are confronted by and comforted with the living Word of Christ in the written Word of scripture.

Today’s New Testament verse from the Daily Texts speaks of guarding the “good treasure entrusted to you.” I fear the church has guarded the treasure of the Word a little too well. In response to yesterday’s musings on Deborah and her song, several people mentioned that they were unfamiliar with her story. I offer this not as criticism of these Christians but of the church at large. Too often the church has hoarded a treasure (like Smaug!) that has much greater value when it is freely shared. I imagine, too, that Deborah’s story has been hidden at times because she was a woman. Surely there are those who would prefer to minimize what the Word itself makes clear: Women have always had important roles to play in God’s story.

Friends, the treasure of the Word is for you! As Bilbo sang before leaving the Shire, “The Road goes ever on and on.” May God’s Word lead you ever along life’s road into newness of life and deeper into the joys of the gospel. The words are old and will become more familiar. Still, the Word brings new mercies each day.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

Living Word, we praise you for your mercy and grace. Thank you for inspiring your people to write your Word. Let us read it in its fullness and share it with abandon. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: That first set of books. They’re falling apart but still contain treasure.

From → COVID-19

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