Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Living Word of God

Standing under the bold and rather obscure sign 'Beliefs', I kept looking.  I honestly thought that a book on Mother Teresa would have been found in the biography section of the library, but I had been duly informed by the on-line catalogue that it would be here instead.  As usual, I was having trouble finding the exact title.  Suddenly, I caught my breath.  I hesitated as my fingers, skimming over numerous titles and authors, brushed over three beautifully bound books all headed The Holy Quran.  Cautiously, I reached into the shelf and pulled one out.  My heart was beating and I had the distinct sensation of a naughty child indulging in something strictly forbidden.  Opening the book, I was amazed at the beauty of it.  Each page was stunningly decorated in colours and patterns.  The text was divided into two parts: down the right hand side of each page was a script that I took to be Arabic.  The left hand column was most undeniably in English.  Hastily, I closed the book and placed it back where I had found it, hoping I had not been caught with my hand in the candy jar.  

I don't know why I felt like that.  With my wordview studies, I actually have read and analysed quite a significant portion of the Quran.  There was something much more present about holding one though.  (All the texts I have read were actually in my text book on my Kindle, so it really wasn't the same.)

I think my hesitation, nervousness, and - yes, awe even - stemmed from something else.  I don't quite know how to describe it, but I think it was a fear of some kind.  All my life, I have been taught that the Bible is the one and true Word of God.  All other religions are false teachings and their scripts and writings are definitely on the taboo reading list - right up there with Twilight and The Golden Compass.  When I held that copy of the Quran in my hands the other day, I felt as though I had seriously crossed the line and would have to do some intense heart-examination.

Isn't it incredible what feelings and emotions just holding a book brought me?  In essence all I was doing was holding a bunch of paper and dried ink that formed dead words in line after line.

Why doesn't the living, breathing Word of God stir up such feelings in us??  We have the Spirit of God inside of us.  When we read His own words, shouldn't our soul just start jumping with joy, ache with anguish, and burn with shame inside of us as He convicts us cleanses us and releases us into new life with Him?  As we are sanctified by the scriptures which came straight from the mouth and the heart of God, shouldn't we be filled with awe-struck wonder at His graciousness in giving us Holy words to live by?

I'm sorry to say, I often do not get as into the Word as I should.  I read it each morning, and then I go onto what I need to do next in my day.  We have the key to all eternity sitting right there infront of us every day - something many believers are denied - and yet we treat it lightly as nothing more than words on a page.

I was struck recently by a quote I read by Mahatma Ghandi.  He was not a Christian, but I think if He had been shown what true Christian love and faith is, he would have become one.  His views on Christians and he astute assessments and comments really strike home.  This is what he said:

“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilisation to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature.”

I don't really have anything left to say.  I shall just close with another quote and a scripture.

“What do you hold in your hand then? A literary masterpiece? A collection of ancient and beautiful stories?" asked the pope. "In that case, we must tell all those Christians who are prison and tortured for the Bible 'How foolish and unwise you have been. It is only piece of literature!' No, with the Word of God has come the light, which shall never be extinguished.
“You hold in your hands something truly divine, a book that is like fire, a book in which God speaks. Therefore, remember that the Bible was not written to be put on a bookshelf. It was written to be held in one’s hands, to be read frequently, every day, either alone or with others."
-- Pope Francis

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:16-17