The Book of Life
“Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life!”
CHRISTIANITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN a faith based on words. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth by saying, “Let there be,” and it was. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became flesh, Jesus Christ, and dwelt among us. God’s Word was put into the hearts, minds, and pens of the human authors of Scripture as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. What a blessing it is that the powerful Word of God is written down for us in this book that we simply call the Bible—the Book!
In our present age of information, an era in which we are inundated by an overwhelming tide of facts mixed with fiction, truths mixed with opinions and outright lies, full of flashing images, memes, and tweets that shift with every wind of popular opinion, we can trust that God’s Word does not change. It always has been and always will be the Book of Life for us. By God’s Word we were created. In God’s Word we hear how His world works best. His Word declares us forgiven as we are rescued from our sins by Jesus’ death. God’s Word breathes new life into us through its proclamation and its tangible delivery in the Sacraments. In short, God’s Word gives us life now and for eternity.
One might say that most of the world’s literature that lasts more than a couple years is based off of the patterns we read in Scripture:
o Adventure and survival stories rely on figuring out how to thrive and survive in the environment, learning how the surroundings work best; God’s Law, especially the Ten Commandments, reveal precisely how God’s world indeed works best;
o Rescue stories are the most basic and cathartic stories in all literature; God’s Gospel, especially as we confess it in the Apostles’ Creed, relates the greatest rescue of all time: how Jesus rescues us from our own sinful nature;
o Wish stories reflect our human desire to get whatever it is we want; but better than wishes, our heavenly Father hears whatever we pray, especially in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, and grants us what we truly need;
o Sea rescue stories epitomize man’s struggles with nature in a broken world; in Holy Baptism, God’s Word promises that not only our struggles with an outside world will be overcome, but that our inner Adam is already drowned in the waters of Baptism, and that a new man emerges;
o Mystery stories present us with enigmas that are often satisfying to solve; however, the Sacrament (“Mystery!”) of the Altar presents us with a conundrum that we may need to wait until Christ comes again to understand: how body and blood can be present in bread and wine. Nevertheless, we already know the most important clue: it is given for your forgiveness.
So ultimately, this Book of Life, the Holy Bible, gives us everything we need (including our faith!) to have our names written in the eternal Book of Life, the record of all believers of all times and places. It may seem an intimidating Book at times, but can still be summed up in those simple words:
Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so!
Your fellow servant in Christ,
The Book of Life