At my church, two children lead us into every worship service. One child carries the flame—a lit candle lighter to remind us of God’s presence—and another carries a very large Bible. Before the service, we negotiate who will carry what. Most kids prefer the candle lighter. (When else do they have the chance to be in charge of fire in a room full of adults?) But some children love bringing in the Bible, even though it’s heavy, old, and awkward to carry. The back cover is coming off because it’s been dropped a few times. You need muscles to carry the Bible.
The Bible is heavy indeed. We can open it as a lamp to find our next step. Or we can pick up that lamp and wallop someone with it. The Bible can be a plow to dig, plant, and nurture our faith or a weapon to tear others down. How can we best use this holy gift God has given us?
As people of Christ, I hope we read God’s word as Christ did, studying it prayerfully and compassionately, making sure that the spirit of the law always trumps the letter of the law. It’s a relief to me that our sacred stories are filled with people as weak and imperfect as I am. Yet God pursues and loves them, just as God loves and pursues us today. When Scripture shocks me with its violence and strange- ness, I try to resist the urge to put it away. Thankfully, we can pester God and our fellow travelers on the Path with our deepest questions. We can keep knocking on God’s door until we understand, even when it takes our whole lives.
The Bible is heavy but carrying it—holding it close and wrestling with it—makes our walk with God so much richer.
What part does the Bible play in your day-to-day life?
Dear God, help me read and understand scripture through the lens of compassion, as Jesus did. Amen.