Dear sisters and brothers in Christ
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have already spent the first half of the period of lockdown and the other half should go if the lockdown is eased on the 2nd December as promised by the prime minister.
I wonder how you are and how you have spending your time since lockdown? One of my friends retired some years ago always had answered me he is reading books whenever I rang him. How about you? Have you been busy for collecting the fallen leaves in your garden? Or have you been reading more books than ever before? If latter, what kinds of books have been reading and what are your favourite genres? My friend who almost always answered me he is reading books related to Christianity. Similar to my friend, I read books in relation to the Bible especially social, cultural, ritual background and systematic theology. Whatever a genre of book we read, it gives us joy, peace, excitement and nurture our knowledge of humanity and the nature. Sometimes, it changes our thoughts that influence to our way life. Then, how much more the words of God in the Bible can change our thoughts and our way of life and our life. This is for all scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
I have recently heard a story of a man who’s been changed his life from reading the Gospels. In the late twentieth century, one man from the Bible society of Zimbabwe went to a village to distribute the copies of the New Testament to the villagers. The man from the Bible Society said to a man that he can give the copy of the New Testament for free. The guy said, ‘If you give me the copy, I will roll the page and use them for rolling cigarettes.’ The one from the Bible Society still wanted the guy to take the Bible with him. So the man from the Bible Society said I will give you this copy with one condition. That was the guy promise him that he is going to read the page of the New Testament before he rolls it for cigarettes. The guy had promised him, so the man from the Bible Society gave the copy to the guy.
A few years later, the same man from the Bible Society went to the village and was preaching people in a tent how the Bible could change their lives. One guy among the crowds suddenly stood up and said his life has been changed for the copy of the Bible. He said he is the one who took the copy of the Bible for rolling cigarettes. He continued to say, ‘I promised to read each page before rolling cigarettes, which I did. So I smoked my way through Matthew. And I smoked the whole of Mark. And then I smoked Luke. I started smoking John, but when I came to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”, a light shone in my face. And now I believe in Jesus
The words in the Bible has power to justify and sanctify us up to the stage of perfection. This is because no words in the Bible came by human will but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Peter 1:21).
We are living in the time of winter when night is much longer than day light and of lockdown due to Covid.19. So it is natural to feel loneliness more than any other seasons especially if we live alone. According to C. S. Lewis, British writer and theologian ‘We read to know we are not alone’. I fully agree with him. I believe the more we read, meditate and contemplate the words of the Lord, the more we find God is with us. And He provides us a great love, hope, peace, comfort, as well as proficient, equipped for every good work.
In this sense, I’d like to invite you to read the Proverbs in the Old Testament. I pray that the Word of the Lord is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path,
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace
With lots of love,