Wednesday, April 19, 2017
It has been with me for nearly 27 years. More like a companion is what it has been. The imitation black back and front leather cover has finally come loose and pages that once were protected are now getting wrinkled, folded, and torn. Actually, it is showing its age. Some pages have faded scotch tape keeping torn places together. Parts of pages are missing. So much of the white margin space is filled with handwritten notes, verses are underlined, and large arrows connect words on one page to words on another. More than just a few cups of coffee have been sloshed over it and a really close look might surely reveal the stain of some shed tears.
It is a mess, but it is our mess. I have pored over its pages in the study preparing to preach and carried it with me to the pulpit lest I stray from what it called me to preach. The Spirit has been a teacher, the saints of the past have shed light on its words, and the spiritual needs of the folks entrusted to me have caused many a wrestling match as I struggled with its words. It is hard to turn it loose. Many a lonely moment has been spent with it as the Spirit sought to open my eyes and heart to some illusive Word for which I was searching. All these years this copy of God's Word has been near as I have journeyed after God.
It is holy, but not just because the front page says, "The Holy Bible." It is holy because of what it has meant in my life. It is holy because of the way the Spirit set this book apart from all other books and all other written words in my life. Holy things cannot just be thrown in the trash. It is just not done. So, I suppose the only thing to do is to take what is torn apart, tie it all together with a good strong cord, and put it in a box where others have gone before.