Last week I received a thank you note thanking me for helping out at Vacation Bible School. It was a very sweet gesture matched only by the effort and time taken to hand write a personalized note inside the card. I have heard many people lament that hand written cards and letters are a dying art. Perhaps they are right. I try to be good about sending hand written thank you cards when someone does something extra for me or gives me a gift. Many times, when I do, I have the recipient tell me that I shouldn’t have done it, or that it was not necessary, but it was. Taking time to express yourself in written form is deeply meaningful and connectional. I took the time to conceptualize my words, inscribe them on paper, and send them in the slowest form of mail: the post. Words come fast and easy. Emails and texts are quickly transcribed and send without a second thought, but the handwritten note or card remains intimate and beloved by those who receive them.
When I think about the time it takes to hand write something, I realize what a gift the Bible really is to God’s people. God took the time to express himself to us. God had to be in relationship with someone, whether an author or a prophet, to first convey God’s message. Then that person had to sit down and transcribe their experience, their conversation with God for all time. It is a long, laborious process. Most people can’t even read their way through Leviticus, much less write it. Maybe we easily forget, because our bibles are in printed form, that it was first hand written, and then copied by hand for generations. Only in the middle of the 1400s did the world see the first printed bible thanks to Mr. Gutenberg. With 66 books in the Bible, it amazes me that someone, or many someones, had to take significant time to hand write all that and the poor scribes who sat by lamp and candlelight to make copies.
(Image courtesy of isthatcoool.blogspot.com)
If you think about it, the Bible is more than just a guide for Christian living. It’s more than a historical document cataloging the people of God. It is God’s handwritten note to us, even if it wasn’t God’s hand doing the writing. What did we do to deserve the honor of such a handwritten note? Nothing. We didn’t do anything worthy of God’s recognition, and there is honor in recognizing the humble state of humankind. What are we that God should take notice of us? I don’t know. I just know that God does. That giant book we read in worship every Sunday is living proof.