Today on The Blogging Bookworm, Shannon, who is a librarian by profession, expressed her thanks for books and all they have meant in her life, and invited us to list books we are thankful for. Oh, goodness. Where to begin?
I'm currently re-reading "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis. I thought about putting that on her list, because every time I read it it just blows my mind. But that blog is mostly for people who are encouraging each other to read books that are influenced by the green movement, so "The Great Divorce" didn't strike me as what they were looking for.
I could have listed anything by Jane Austen, too. I'll admit it; I'm a Jane Austen nut! So much so, my husband got me this for a gift:
That's right, folks, it's an official Jane Austen Action Figure, complete with book, quill pen, and writing desk. I want to take her out and play with her! Please???
But I have to be completely honest, because that's what I try to do here on this silly little blog of mine. My favorite book, without any ifs, ands, or buts, is the Bible. I'm not just saying that because I work in a church. It really, really is my favorite book.
I grew up in an environment in which the Bible was a book of wise sayings written by wise people, about a very wise teacher, but it was not considered to be anything more than that. You could put it on the shelf with Aristotle and Ghandi, and it just fit right in. But when I was in my early teens, I for some reason wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so I tried to read it. Got a little bogged down in Leviticus. Skipped over to the Psalms; they were pretty cool. Skipped over some more that seemed rather confusing, and started reading the Gospels in the New Testament. Now, finally, there were things about Jesus, who, of course, fascinated me. Some of the adults around me pooh-poohed the miracles- all explainable scientifically. His death, faked. The resurrection? He woke up from a coma, or the body was stolen.
For some reason, I just kept reading it. And, eventually, I decided everything in it was actually true, whether I understood it or not. Not because someone brainwashed me into thinking it was true, but because I tested it in my daily life, and it always passed the test.
I'm not going to tell you that I understand everything in there. Are you kidding? There are seminaries full of highly educated and brilliant theologians who spend their whole lives trying to nail down every nuance; they've been doing that for close to two thousand years, and they're not done. I will tell you that I get most of it now, at least enough to mine the wisdom, try to apply the guidance to my life, and be continually humbled by what the Bible reveals to me about God and humankind, and the rest of the Creation.
At one point in my life I had reason to fast and pray for forty days, and, I know, I know this sounds strange, but the Bible, the Word of God, became my food during that time. Enough so that I wasn't hungry for physical food. I have a lot of books on my bookshelf, but none of the others have ever had that effect.
I've been in many Bible studies with other people, but nothing can replace just plain reading it, over and over and over. For six straight years I followed a reading plan the took me through the whole thing each year. I've had two years off from that, now, and that's too long. So starting in January I'm back on that plan. I'm actually very excited about that.
So today, and every day, since I first picked it up and thumbed through it when I was twelve, I am thankful that God speaks to me through the Bible.