A few years ago, I was one in the crowd of people that thad switched over from carrying around a bulky Bible and journal and replaced them with my iPhone or iPad. I had my app, my highlights, and my notes – all in one easy to reach spot that went everywhere with me. My pastor was not fond of this technological change – lamenting the lack of collective page rustling when turning from one verse to another, and listing off several reasons why pen and paper were better in a decidedly prejudiced side track to his sermon. There were advantages to the app as well – access to different translations, Bibles in other languages, word studies, and did I mention portability? Unswayed, for the next year I tapped away at my cold glowing glass screen. That is, until the sentences that changed it all…
During an otherwise unremarkable Sunday sermon, my pastor tried to make light that “when you die, your kids won’t pickup your iPad and search through your app for e-notes and review your digital highlights. But they will pickup your tattered Bible, flip through its well worn pages filled with notes and highlights, and see the volumes of journals sitting on your shelf. In a real and tangible way, they will see the time you invested into your relationship with God.” Those words made me remember seven years prior, when I had attended my Grandfathers funeral. Sitting downstairs in the reception hall was a memory table lined with photos and objects from his life. Sitting in the middle front of that table was his Bible, exactly as my pastor had described. My thoughts turned to my own kids, and what they would have to place on my table one day, or review as a legacy of my personal journey of faith. So later that week, I picked up a journal and started showing up from then on with a Bible and pencil in hand. One year has passed since that day, and my journal fills slowly but surely.
For the past several months, my eldest son has been interested in getting baptized. Every week he asked if our church had set a date and was not dissuaded when we talked to him about the cold and questionable waters of the Willamette River in March. So this past weekend, he finally got his wish, and was baptized of his own choosing and timing. To celebrate, my wife and I bought him his first real Bible – a study Bible full of footnotes, cross references, and a large glossary. But we also bought him a journal – just like Mom and Dad’s. That evening, I went in to tuck him in and found him reading his Bible and finishing his first page of notes in his journal. He looked up and said “did you know that God made us in His own image?” I sat down on the end of his bed and started the discussion of what that sentence meant. A short time later, I laid down and recalled the events of that day, and how the past, present, and future had all came together in that moment. How a physical Bible and journal had been used as part of my more purposeful journey of faith. How a physical Bible and journal had already impacted my sons very first moments searching the scriptures for himself. And how going forward, we were all forming a tangible legacy of our lives – a symbol of an ongoing journey to become the people we ought to be.
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