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In the beginning was the Word

by davesandel on December 30th, 2021

Thursday, December 30, 2021                                   (today’s lectionary)

The Sixth Day of Christmas

In the beginning was the Word

Do not love the world or the things of the world. All that is in the world (sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life) is not from the Father but is from the world.

I know I’m jumping the lectionary gun by a day. But yesterday I was getting a few paper books together for Margaret’s and my overnight trip to San Antonio, and before we left I glanced at the Kindle book selection of Early Bird Book Deals for today. It was amazing. Suffer me a moment to share yesterday’s list with you:

Journey to Portugal (history)

Antiques Slay Ride (what do you think?)

­­Nightwings (an imminent alien invasion)

Kiyo’s Story (Japanese internment camp – I bought that one for $2.51)

Liberty’s Dawn (Industrial revolution in US)

3d Granny Squares (patterns for gifts)

Saving Grace (romance)

A History of the South Yorkshire Countryside

Mary McCarthy’s Italy (Venice Observed and The Stones of Florence)

The Job by Sinclair Lewis

The Tank Killers (WWII)

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm (other cultures raising children)

Mint Juleps, Mayhem, and Murder

The Best of C. L. Moore (space outlaws, time travelers)

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (love in an insular Orthodox Jewish community)

Extracted (unmasking American anti-semitism in universities

The Children of Jocasta (fiction in ancient Greece)

The Last Studebaker (travel after divorce)

The Name of the Game (romance)

Deadly Justice (thriller)

The Downing of TWA Flight 800: The Shocking Truth

Bagpipes, Brides and Homicides

Murder in Hindsight

Perfect Poison (nurse’s compassionate killings)

Gaddafi’s Harem (Lybian women under Gaddafi)

Satisfaction (erotic fiction)

The FBI (comprehensive history)

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (this one was free for today)


So that’s 29 books, which cost between free and $2.99 each. So far in my Kindle library there are many more than six thousand books, and they fit on my phone.

I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.

My friend told me her daughter was becoming wiser in the ways of the world, but not spiritually wiser. She wasn’t interested in church. But spiritually surely means much more than that. When I listen to the deep quiet voices inside myself, I could be listening to God, right? What was I told in Sunday School?

God lives inside your heart! I believed that then, and I believe it even more now.

So what should I read on our trip? I would like to read John 1, to prepare for New Year’s Eve, along with a few more stories from a Christmas anthology. In the car we might listen to Pastoral Song, a eulogy written about the English land by a fourth generation English farmer. And what else? Sometimes I just sit and rest, basking in the presence of those thousands of books sitting there calling to me. I will never read them all, of course, but shopping for them and then sitting with them is half the fun.

The Bible calls out to me. Jesus-in-my-heart speaks whenever I take time to speak to him. Everything is good – all the stunning and outlandish cornucopia of books on my virtual shelf (and don’t forget Hoopla and Overdrive/Libby, which lets us read and listen to books in the Champaign, Austin and University of Illinois libraries).

A holy day has dawned upon us. Come, you nations, and adore the Lord. Today a great light has come upon the earth.

One of my favorite authors is Sister Wendy Beckett, an art enthusiast who captivated BBC and PBS audiences in the 1990’s with her stunning descriptions of beautiful paintings. The spiritual practice called lectio divina can easily be changed to visio divina. Sister Wendy showed us how.

The idea is to spend more than a glance at a passage or painting, but instead spend four glances, four moments of thinking/reading/looking/knowing. Between each moment, say a sentence to Jesus. Listen for what he says back. Go on to the next moment. The passage, and the picture, get richer and richer. And you will too.

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

 (1 John 2, Psalm 96, Luke 2)

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