Here comes the British summer, the season when many bags are packed with shorts, hats, macs, suncream and… books. Topics are many and varied: possibly connected with the holiday destination or a favourite hobby, tales of adventure, detectives or even… chick lit. For those who have busy working lives a spell of ‘down time’ offers temporary escape from routine and a chance to spend extended time engaging with the imagined world within a book.
So, bring on the deckchair, the poolside lounger or the chaise longue, a cool drink and the book. Escape from the work pressures or the humdrum is at hand. What does this scenario have to offer? Hopefully, sheer escapism: a journey to a faraway land, the excitement of a car chase, a chance to out-think a detective, or the remembered bliss of romance now long in the past. These books invite us to daydream, to reminisce and to relax. That surely has to be good.
Holidays, however, are finite by nature. The bag is packed for the homeward journey and the paperback books may well be left on the holiday bookshelves for future guests to read. The escape was lovely while it lasted but the usual daily routine calls us back. Do we leave with any lasting personal benefit or simply entertained?
On settling back into routine, does reading feature on our ‘to do’ list and is it easy to get to our local library during a working week? The good news is that it is entirely possible to reach from a shelf, a Kindle or a smartphone, an entire library of history, adventure, poetry, songs, letters and seemingly fantastic stories. This library is, of course, commonly called The Bible – and it’s well worth reading.
Although the biblical library contains many and varied books, there is a central theme. At heart, the books of the bible relate a love story. Who are the main characters, the lover and the beloved? God and his created people. The background setting for the story is God’s created world from the first stirrings of creation (told in Genesis) to the newly created world in which God will live alongside his people (dramatically depicted in Revelation). What’s not to like?
A love story that tells us about God? Wow! But some of it is hard to understand; that’s where theology comes into its own. A topic for another day, perhaps…
Written by Marilyn Baldwin