Monday, September 15, 2008

Respect For The Book

The other day in an American church the worship leader paused between songs to read a passage of Scripture. What I noticed was that he had laid his Bible on the floor behind him and picked it up to read. A guy across the aisle had placed his Bible on the floor, under his chair. I was reminded how offensive it is in another culture to disrespect the Book.

I first became aware of the “sacredness” of Scripture in the early ‘90’s while working in Russia. Books, all books, were considered a prized possession and therefore handled with esteem. To write in, make notes, underline in a book is highly offensive, and of course, one NEVER places a book, certainly not the Bible, on the floor. The ground is “profane” space, where one puts their shoes, certainly not a Bible.

What is it about our culture that we have become so careless with little regard for fashion, music or literature? I am aware the Book is just a book and does not hold particular spiritual powers. Nevertheless, it seems to me that perhaps we would have more respect for God’s Word if they weren’t thrown in the trunk of our cars or tossed in the corner of our homes. A word to short-term teams going overseas -- hold your Bibles in your hands, place them on your laps, don’t throw them on the floor.