The Real Deal

Library at Trinity College

Exodus 20: 6. So says the Lord our God: “I will show love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

I don’t know if you are a reader, although I suspect as much because you are in choir and many of you have studied the Bible for years, and you are also intelligent and good-looking. I bring this up because I also don’t know how you prefer to do your reading. Maybe you’re like me and went through a stage where I preferred e-books for their convenience and lower cost. I used them for about ten years, but recently have found them hard to hold (they’re made of plastic, slippery and just plain awkward),  harder and harder to read (that’s on me, not the readers) and reliant on batteries. With an e-reader, I can access thousands of books, but if the battery goes out and I can’t recharge it, it’s like having no book at all. And I don’t want to think about that.

And so, I have gone back to the future and now read paperbacks and the occasional hardback when someone gives me a gift card, and it’s like coming home. I can hold the books easily, read them readily (with no large print—yet), mark my place and, best yet, write in the margins. This devotional came from a note I made in a margin of the book I’m reading now. (It read, “Write about books for devotional,” and here I am.)

I know, I know, e-readers mark the place automatically and it is possible to make notes, but that process is more trouble than it’s worth. And I have to say that having a book sent electronically is not very exciting or satisfying. Becky tells me that the one thing people look forward to the most every day is the delivery of the mail. That applies to “real” books as well. There’s nothing like going out to the bookstore for a change of scenery, choosing a book, paying for it and taking it home. And there’s also excitement in ordering it online and waiting to see if the promised delivery day is accurate. Then there’s the enjoyment of opening the package and finding out that, yes, they did send the right book. Then comes the reading and all the rest, but you already know about that.

It occurs to me that our experience with God is or can be like having the best book in the universe. Just as books can have a real presence in our lives that is important and enriching, so God is the ultimate reality and offers not only an enriched life but also salvation to all who accept Jesus Christ. Jesus said, in John 6:58, speaking of himself as the New Manna, “I am the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

The riches and opportunities of the universe are ours because God is the real creator, sustainer and redeemer. May we always remember these qualities, and may we always know that God is real. Amen

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