On Reading

I love books.  Always have.  I love the way they smell, they way they look (this is sounding like a dodgy country song), the way they transport you into someone else’s world and brain.  I’m scared of flying.  But with paperbacks, there’s no need! Instead I can experience a completely different culture, from the comfort of my front room.

Books are also markers.  Some people measure out life in songs or meals or jobs.  But for me, life began with The Great Big Hungry Caterpillar.  Roald Dahl held my hand as I took my first steps. Judy Blume taught me about periods.  Seamus Heaney helped me understand my history.  Eliot made me cry. What a privilege to be invited inside another person’s head.  To accompany them on journeys that are too frightening to travel alone.

For this reason, I’m struck afresh by how much I need the Bible.  We’ve got loads of them floating around the house and it’s easy to take them for granted.  But to do so is to miss a collection of love letters from the living God.  It’s history, politics, romance, mystery, thriller, tragedy, comedy.   It’s life and death  and wisdom and truth. All of humanity is captured in its pages – past, present, future.  But most wonderfully of all, it shows me Jesus.  As I read, He walks off the pages and meets me where I am. Thank you Lord!

6 thoughts on “On Reading

  1. The advantage to most books is that its either fiction or about something real but like a world away from your life. The Bible is something that doesn’t just affect us temporarily (reading something that makes you sad or happy for an hour or so), it tells us about us and needs a more permanent effect. It says things that are hard to hear but that we need to hear rather than things we can skim over because it’s someone elses story. Sometimes reading the Bible can feel like reading a book full of laws or instructions or things that are a million miles away from what we can imagine (noah’s flood, red sea parting, surviving the desert). To read it you have to change your view about what it is from a book that as a Christian you are expected to read to an active engaging book that you don’t want to put down.

  2. I just…well..I think you understand how much I love this post.
    I wish we could hang out!
    What is your favorite Bible version <–is that even a legitimate question? Who could choose, really?

  3. Thanks Sarah – what a great way of putting it – moving from a book you’re expected to read, to one you don’t want to put down.

  4. Hi Missy

    Ooh too hard to choose. I’ve got a sneaking fondness for the King James, but day to day I don’t think my little brain could take in all the extra poetry.I like the illustrations in the Good News, but not sure if that counts. ESV is good day-today, but New Living translates Proverbs 31 as a woman who scours the markets for bargains – you’ve got to love that. Also reading different versions helps keep familiar passages fresh. So I’m staying on the fence..

    Would love to chew it over with you in person!

  5. Emma this is brilliant :)! I love reading the bible and seeing Jesus. I think it is so refreshing and when we are cold and dull hearted we need to come Christ! :)

    I mark my childhood reading with Goosebumps, Roald Dahl, Hatchet and Lord of the Rings in my teenage years. I wonder what it says about ourselves when we look back on the books we have read and grown up with…!

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