“Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
Ezekiel 33:32-33 (NKJV)
From time to time my watch loses its way. It’s supposed to keep perfect time, linked by a radio signal from Munich or somewhere. Only now and again I wake up to find, even though dawn is breaking outside, my watch tells me it’s 12 noon on January 1, 2001. This is followed by a sigh (from me!) because I know it’ll take me half an hour or so to get it back on track. I can’t just correct it by moving hands or clicking certain buttons. Oh no, it has to be set up specially so that it can receive the correcting signal and properly re-adjust itself.
It kind of speaks volumes about our society, I feel. We have all sorts of gadgets to make life easy, only when they go wrong they make life harder. The best watch I ever had I found outside Lambeth Palace. When I took it to the local police station the desk sergeant was most indignant. It wasn’t worth the paperwork. Nevertheless a month later I went back to collect it. Even today, many years later, it keeps perfect time—as long as I remember to wind it up at night.
Advances in our society are not necessarily always for the best.
From time to time people say to me, “You’re always reading, you should buy yourself a Kindle.”* But the kind of books I read are not usually available in Kindle format, although many of them, especially the more obscure but famous volumes, are readily found these days in Acrobat*.
I remember going once to Winchester Cathedral library. I wanted to reference a quote from a book housed on their shelves. I asked the Librarian: “Our books are not for looking at,” she snorted.
Typical. Fortunately the days when Bibles were the preserve of the church authorities and locked away from the public in restricted libraries are long gone. But on the other hand that hasn’t seemed to have done much in the way of causing their contents still to be prized as they were especially in the days when access was limited.
Perhaps that’s why there’s to be a ‘famine of the word’ up ahead sometime, according to prophecy. The way things are going it won’t be something God will have to do; we’re heading to a famine brought about by our own making. The more we go away from the simple book to the electronic replacements, the more likely, it seems to me, that the text is less likely to be read. Bibles still sell, but mainly to grace the arm of the bride, or as a present to the new godchild. Few, it seems, take the time to read what the contents say—fewer still to seek to understand what they read—even where so many translations are now available even in Kindle format. I encourage you to read your Bibles, in whatever format, for in them we find our course correction when we are lost—in them is life.
Holy Father, as human beings at times we struggle to keep up with the ‘advances’ in our civilisation—not always ‘advances’ at all. Help us, please, to be able to discern the better way, and to steer our course with your help to achieve the end you have for us—to dwell with you forever. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by John Stettaford
*Kindle is a trade mark of Amazon Corporation, and Acrobat of the Adobe Company.
Worldwide Church of God Reading
6th Form Common Room
Honey End Lane
READING RG30 4EL
Local Congregational Contact: