Crack open the book of books

It’s the plumb line of truth for every Christian; the door to truth for every non-believer. Without the Bible, it’s impossible to realize when our lives, thoughts, beliefs and actions are off kilter from God’s best.

A young Asian man entered the restaurant where my sister and brother-in-law and I waited to be shown to a table. Casting a pleasant smile around the waiting area, he seated himself on a bench several metres away. Then he opened the book he carried and started reading.

The volume had an embossed black leather cover, and appeared ancient. It intrigued me, not for its obvious age, but its thickness—at least six inches.

When the hostess called our party and we rose to go to our table, we passed the fellow. I snuck a peek at the open page. As I’d suspected, the book was the Book of Books, as the Bible is called. As big as the biggest, and possibly as old as the oldest in the Preacher’s private library.

I’ll never know why the young man carried such a large Bible. More portable editions are readily available. But he clearly treasured it and carrying it so obviously brought him no shame.

I treasure my (much smaller) Bibles too. Reading God’s Word oils the moving parts of my life. On the days I don’t make time to connect with Jesus in scripture, I notice a distinct difference; as though someone left a window open on a chilly day, or a door ajar, just enough for a draught to blow in. Or a pesky fly.

God speaks in the lines of his Word. He reminds me who I am and who he is. He shows me how to live and die well. How to cherish those I love, love those I don’t like (and who don’t like me), and respect the people and creation I share the planet with.

But sometimes my Bible “itches me,” as one of my grandbeans says when she doesn’t like the feel of something on her skin.  When that happens, I always know I can bring those passages with me to the women’s Bible study I attend weekly.

We represent many different Christian denominations, but our love of God and his Book of Books holds us together. It has done for years. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we cry. But we love exploring scripture—the book of Psalms right now—and comparing notes on the things we’ve discovered in the last week.

None of us bring Bibles as large as the one the young man carried. We sit around the table with our cell phones open to the First5 app we all use. We discuss what inspired, motivated, blessed or “itched” us in the reading we’ve done since our last meeting. We part knowing God will keep threading the truths we’ve shared through our hearts and lives. And, if we let him, he’ll work on straightening us to plumb.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105