So Why a Living Room?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day #35. Fire In the Bones.

I have loved and devoured everything I've ever heard or read by S. Michael Wilcox.  He is such a gospel scholar and so insightful, and has a way of making historical figures come alive as real human beings as he relates their stories.  He did his dissertation on C.S. Lewis and I love the hour long talk he gives, condensing the things he learned in that whole process.  Awesome stuff.

Anyway, so I'm reading a book of his right now called "Fire in the Bones," all about William Tyndale's journey and eventual martyrdom as he took it upon himself to translate the Bible into English, from Greek, for the first time in its entirety.  I am learning so many cool things.  If I ever think I'm too busy to read the scriptures, I need to read this quotation again and remember what an incredible thing it is that we have the words of God, in our language, at our fingertips:

This is about the itinerant preachers that John Wycliffe sent out in the 1400's. 
"They shared manuscript translations in taverns, village greens, forests, and private homes with all who dared to listen.  Because manuscripts were costly and time-consuming to produce, many of Wycliffe's followers traveled with a single gospel, committing whole books to memory to partially escape the prohibitions of the law.  In the twilight, after the days' work was done, the blacksmiths and coopers gathered by the flicker of a candle or the glow of a hearth to hear the prized words recalled from memory or read from tattered parchments until too frequent readings turned the rag paper to dust.  Many of those caught preaching scripture in the mother tongue were burned with the offending translations hung around their necks, tall conical hats perched mockingly on their heads. "

Wow, that just gives me the chills.  Do we read the words of God with as much thrill as those blacksmiths and coopers?  Do we treasure every phrase that is available to us--to teach us the true gospel and change our lives as we live by the teachings? 

What an inspiring image.  I found joy today in understanding a little bit better how many good men, for centuries, hacked away at the mission of translating, printing, and distributing the Bible to the common man--against incredible opposition.  And now, I have access to about 10 copies, in my house alone, that I can read whenever I want.  Makes me not want to be "too tired" or "too busy" to feast on those words.  :)


Brooke said...

I love love love S. Michael Wilcox too, and was able to have him as my institute teacher one summer. It was amazing! Thanks for sharing, I'll have to see if I can get ahold of that book, I hadn't come across that before. Love your joy exercise, I'm sad to see it ending. :)