When we hear the Word of God, when we read it, how does it affect us? Is it something that seems foreign, something we have to strain ourselves to listen to with understanding? Or is it something that draws our interest, something that we can't seem to get enough of, and want to hear more of, when time cuts it short?
We speak of the ikons as being ‘windows into heaven’ and seek to justify their presence in places of worship and in our homes by this reasoning. Yes, windows into heaven they may be in the sense that they visually depict what our lazy, inattentive minds can't stay focused on long enough for eyes of faith to develop and learn to see.
But what ignites faith in us better than reading the Word of God or hearing it read aloud? They tell that ‘pictures are worth a thousand words,’ but I say that this is the Word that is worth a thousand pictures. Truth made us, and He made us in Truth, and Truth is our inmost being, “…and in the night, my inmost self instructs me” (Psalm 16:7 Jerusalem Bible).
I love the saying in the Talmud, “Turn it this way, turn it that way, everything is in it, keep your eyes on it, grow old and aged over it, and from it do not stir, for you have no better portion than it” (Pirkei Avot, 5:22). What are they talking about? Turn what this way, what that way? The Torah, of course! And what do they say the Torah is?
The Torah is the ‘precious implement’ that Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, used in creating all that exists, and yet, it is also the scrolls of the Book.
What do we say about the Word of God? That He is “God of God, Light of Light, by Him all things were made” (Symbol of Nicæa), that He is “the true light that gives light to every man” (John 1:9), and yet, we too call the Book, ‘the Word of God.’
Christians are those who by definition accept the Bible as holy scripture, but there is anything but agreement among them as to what that means. It hasn't always been so, but with the victory of ‘democracy’ or, as C. S. Lewis pragmatically put it, the ‘I am as good as you’ philosophy, everyone and his dog thinks he has a right to use the Bible however he wants—use it, I emphasize, not believe it.
This is why we find people in church today who think they can ‘correct’ the Word of God by their ‘insightful’ interpretations. Some of them boldly acknowledge that they are agnostics or even atheists, yet they feel they must ‘correct’ those who do confess Christ! This is a new brand of apostasy of epic proportions, but as Hitler said, the greater the lie the easier it is to get people to believe it.
So they lie big.
Yes, they lie, and with a smile, and use civility sometimes to unnerve those whom they seek to shut up, though when they find they can't, they use social brute force. Not only do they ‘use the Torah as a spade to dig with’ but as a weapon as well. In their hands they hold a bible which is no longer the Word of God: like the soul of a dead man, the Word has eluded these corpse-cleaners.
To those who do not accept the Word, Jesus Christ the Divine Logos and Son of God, their bible is a closed book. For them it is not the Book, the only divine scripture on earth, but only another piece of ‘great literature’ for their entertainment. Again I ask, when we hear the Word of God, when we read it, how does it affect us?
Do we run after it, or do we run from it?
Now Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a light on my path…
Psalm 119: 105
Psalm 119: 105