April 4, 2007
Today we have one of those guest bloggers I promised. Cynthia Ruchti is a critique partner of mine, friend, and a fun, fantastic writer. Recently she made a comment to me that I asked her to expand on. Take it away, Cynthia!
As a child growing up in the Midwest, a fresh snowfall meant new territory. A long, sparkling stretch of white, unmarked by evidence of human interference . . . until my booted feet marked paths and designs through the pristine surface. Untouched snow was like a new canvas for my imagination.
A similar but much deeper thrill overwhelms me now when I purchase a new Bible.
I own a zillion Bibles. One of those who enjoys studying many different translations and paraphrases, I’m also a person who can’t read my Bible productively without a pen or colored pencil in hand. Always marking. In fact, if I see a pristine, unmarked page in my Bible, I know in an instant I haven’t read that page. How can I be so sure? Because God speaks to my heart somehow, some way, on every page. If nothing is marked, it’s a tell-tale sign that I haven’t been over that territory.
Many people feel uncomfortable, downright sacrilegious about the idea of marking in their Bibles. Although I can respect their reverence for the physical book itself, to me it is the words of that holy Book that deserve our deepest respect. And those words come alive for me when I have a pen or pencil in hand. When I mark in my Bible, I’m interacting with the Word and by association with the Lord Himself. I don’t know what my family will do if I die first and they search for my Bible to gain insights into what was important to me in order to include “a little something” in the funeral sermon. They’ll find a shelf full of Bibles marked with exclamation points and heavy underlining and notes in the margins with dates and specific crises to which God applied a particular Scripture as a balm for my heart. They’ll find little musical notes beside all the verses I know have been made into worship songs. They’ll discover tracks on the snowy pages that reveal the path of my faith in the God Who speaks to us through His Word.
This morning, I opened my pocket-sized Bible to a passage in Jeremiah. Nothing marked. A fresh snowfall. Time to make tracks!
Cynthia blogs at Splashing in the Deep End.