I was at my home church yesterday. It was, sort of, an ordinary Sunday and things came off, pretty much, as usual and as planned. I’m pretty sure some things happened that were not in the bulletin, but we can’t always see those.
My wife taught our Sunday School class on the chapter in Genesis where Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord. She told me, the night before, that she’d heard and read lots of opinions as to whether the angel of the Lord in the wrestling match was actually an angel or really God Himself. Some of these “discussions” can go on forever and, honestly, the older I get, the less time I want to spend discussing or batting around issues that cannot and probably will not be settled while we’re on the planet. Most times, people are comfortably settled into their positions and are rarely convinced to change.
As a side note, even when talking to somebody that doesn’t buy the whole Jesus story, my (our) part in the experience is to simply tell the story, testify as to what Jesus means to us and – and this is the important part – let God, by His spirit, do what He’s going to do. To someone with their heels dug in, the only one that is going to change them is Him.
I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer people carry Bibles at our church. Trying to maintain some restraint over my formerly hyper spiritual and judgmental self, I make an effort not to read too much into this.
And then it hit me that I read from the scripture from my iPad a lot! I travel with it. It has all my stuff on it. I have a large library of all kinds of books on several different apps and then there’s that one big icon that displays my iPad “Bible”. When I’m feeling particularly free of guilt or especially washed up by a whole pile of grace and looking for something to feel bad about, the iPad Bible icon comes through.
Conscience: “You should really be reading the scripture from a real Bible, you know.”
Me: “Uh . . . what?”
Conscience: “I said . . . You should really be reading the scripture from a real Bible, you know.”
Me: “That’s what I thought you said. Can’t you leave me be for even a second?”
Conscience: “No, my job is to bother you and make you think.”
Me: “Well, right now, you are just bothering me. I was feeling ok about myself and then . . . “
Conscience: “Let me interrupt . . .”
Me: “You usually do.”
Conscience: “See, you’re dodging the issue and trying to change the subject.”
Me: “Yeah, that’s what I usually do.”
Conscience: “We’ll talk about that later.”
Me: “No doubt.”
Conscience: “Will you stop trying to always get in the last word?”
Conscience: “Thank you.”
Me: “Don’t mention it.”
Conscience: “Now, back to the Bible thing. You need to be reading God’s Holy Word from a proper book. One bound in, preferably, genuine leather with hand stitching.”
Me: “Genuine leather? Hand stitching? And do you have a color preference?”
Conscience: “YES, genuine leather. Enough with the fake stuff already. And no, color doesn’t really matter . . . well, not for now.”
Me: “Yeah, I know. The fake stuff peals and falls apart. It’s embarrassing. But what does proper leather and hand stitching and all have to do with the words in the Word?”
Conscience: “Uh . . . well . . . you know, it’s just not . . . respectful.”
Me: “Wow, I’ve never heard you say “Uh” before. I thought the content, the teaching, the spirit and the truth of what the Bible says is way more important than a genuine leather cover. And wouldn’t it be better to, oh how can I say this . . . , hide God’s Word in my heart than carry it around in a leather cover covered by another cover with a fish symbol on the cover?”
Conscience: “You used the word “cover” a lot in that last one.”
Me: “Now who’s trying to change the subject?” I’m just saying, I thought the insight into who God really is and who He wants me to be is more important than whether I read from a book or a computer.”
Conscience: “Hmm . . . “
Conscience: “I’ll have to get back to you on this. Now, let’s talk about versions.”
Me: “Let’s not.”