Dancing in the Aisles
Café Menu for Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Today’s Special is: National Bible Celebration Day
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Tammy Priest
When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.
What if we established a federal holiday to celebrate the Bible?
Congress probably wouldn't go for it. It's not very politically correct. But maybe some state governments would enact it, say, down here in the Bible Belt. Everyone would get the day off from work, and we could sing and worship and parade around with our Bibles!
Wait a minute.
There's already a national holiday to celebrate God's Word. Yankees celebrate it just as heartily as Southerners. So do Midwesterners and Californians, Europeans and Australians. And especially Israelis.
You see, every year when the Feast of Tabernacles ends, the nation of Israel - both the literal and global, spiritual nation - celebrates Simchat Torah ("Joy of Torah").*
The heart of the celebration is when rabbis take out the Torah scrolls and lead a parade around the sanctuary seven times, Jericho-style. The congregation follows behind, singing and dancing wholeheartedly. After the jubilant parade, adults rewind the scroll back to the beginning. Yes, that means that every single year, every single synagogue completes an annual read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan.
Thinking back to these celebrations of my childhood always brings a huge grin to my face. The holidayis joyous, yet uncomplicated. It's simply God's children celebrating the priceless gift of His written Word - given to us so that we can know Him, and therefore ourselves.
Since this national Bible celebration day already exists, maybe Christians should join in. Let's all celebrate God's Word together, not with quiet nods of approval, but with joyful shouts of acclamation! Just like the Jewish founders of our faith, we could celebrate with - dare I say it? - dancing in the aisles of the sanctuary!
In fact, as believers in Christ, our rejoicing should be even more exuberant than the celebrations of my youth. Because we rejoice in the gift of the greatest Word:
The Word who was with God and is God. The Word through whom all things were made. The Word who became flesh and dwelt among us.
The truth is, whenever we celebrate Scripture - whether Old or New, on Simchat Torah or any ordinary day - we are celebrating Jesus. Because every jot and tittle either points to or confirms the Messiah, from the beginning to the end and back again.
That should lead us to dance in the aisles of the sanctuary and through the halls of our hearts every single day!
* The "ch" in Simchat Torah is pronounced like the "ch" in "loch" or "auchtung," not like the "ch" in "church."
God's Word - on paper and in the Flesh - is the most valuable gift we could ever hope to receive. Every time we turn - or swipe - its pages, let's receive it with wonder, rejoicing as we unwrap this monumental gift and thanking the Giver who lavishly gives it.
Father, thank You for giving me Your written Word, so that I might learn Your ways. And thank You for giving me Your Son, the Word made flesh, that I might be restored to You for eternity. In these things, You have given me more than I deserve, and all that I will ever truly need. Give me a heart of rejoicing whenever I open my Bible and whenever I enter Your Presence in prayer. For it is in the Word made flesh, Jesus, that I pray. Amen.
© 2014 by Tammy Priest. All rights reserved.
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