Both of my cars are garage dwellers. The tools needed for any project are my neighbor’s, and more often than not he ends up providing the means, the expertise and the labor, given my complete disdain for creating or putting things together. This should make me an “ideas guy,” but that’s another story. So, the box arrives, and to my concern, it necessitates some minimal assembly. Things deteriorate when the instructions are written in a foreign language; I vainly try to assemble it by sight, which only the sight of my neighbor can make right. I feel lost.
The feeling is not new. I became an altar boy at a young age, and among many questions that came to mind besides the wine drinking, the colorful costumes, the incense and Jesus still on the cross, was the fact that we were not allowed to look at “the book.” And what a book it was, embroidered in gold, massive and written in Latin. I often wondered why he kept looking at it while conducting the mass, since he knew all the words by heart. A smaller version sat in his office, but discussing it was taboo. My grandmother, who was responsible for my appointment at the church, did not know the book either, although she faithfully went to mass every day of the week. There was some frustration at not being allowed to read it, but age mitigated its effects. It was a strange time for me.
Then I got older, left the church and had ample opportunities to read it. After the hotel check in, my clothes usually needed to be stored, which led to the book being conveniently available in the top drawer. On several opportunities, mostly out of boredom, I would peruse it, vaguely remember the priest’s homilies and then place it back underneath my underwear and socks. The same book that created so much interest at the age of ten was now something to be dismissed due to its lack of application in my 20’s. Who had the time or energy to tackle something lengthier than “War and Peace” with all that was going on? It became insignificant.
My mother and father, who had been “token” church goers all their lives, began attending a small Presbyterian church as I was making inroads in my profession. Once they became solid Christians, they tried to “get me on board” by betting that their prayers would trump my pragmatism, and finally they collected on the bet as I accepted Christ at the age of 35. There was some uneasiness trying to read the Holy Manual given my track record, but I succumbed to the Gospel according to John at the suggestion of an elder. John baptizing in the Jordan, Jesus changing water to wine, holy well water in Samaria, the healing at the pool, walking on water, washing the Apostle’s feet, Pilate washing his hands, the blood and water from the Savior’s side, and Peter jumping into the water at the sight of the Teacher caught my attention. Why such fascination with water?
Then the Holy Interpreter arrived on the scene and began to make sense of it all, culminating with my dunking into the “watery grave” and returning to life. Just as the neighbor across the street makes sense of all things mechanical, the Holy Spirit who resides in me, makes sense of all things spiritual… and scriptural. It finally came to life; the priest, the profession and the pragmatism took a back seat to the provision of God. The book that had no relevance during the first half my life now became the one that dictated the second; it now became the “Faith Book.”
And today, in a world of almost complete adherence to social media, I rely on source media; the source has become the Book which enables me to make sense of it all. God’s timeline for the redemption of the world has come to life as He sent his Holy Messenger, Jesus Christ, to link with us. Soon after his departure from earth, he shared the Holy Spirit in order that we may comprehend the Good news feed, the Gospel; only through its proper interpretation will we get to like or dislike its contents. There we experience both thumbs down (Pilate’s condemnation) and thumbs up (Jesus’ resurrection) as we rejoice in the free gift of the post Jesus era. And what a blessing to live in a country where we can openly chat about it and for me to freely share my account; and all the credit goes to our Lord of Lords (LOL) and to Our Mighty God (OMG).