Sam Roiko | The Voice of Zion May 2017 --
We live in a time when we experience instantaneous communication with individuals across the world through social media and the Internet. This has developed to a point where it seems that our standard expectations of communication are that it would be rapid and brief.
The era of waiting days for a letter to arrive in the mail are largely gone. In our time, it seems that if the exchange of messages does not take place rapidly, it is not worth waiting for. We become frustrated when the network seems to take an extra second to load a webpage. We may habitually refresh our email or check to see if any new messages have arrived.
Often, communication is reduced to a picture on Instagram or Snapchat with a few words for a caption, or a 160-character Tweet, or a brief text message. Many times a concise response in email or a short message is all that is expected. Our eyes glaze over when an email longer than a paragraph appears in the inbox.
Combining the rapid pace and short length of messages results in a stream of information that flows by our eyes at a dizzying pace. It can often seem impossible to keep up with—many times we can scroll far in Facebook or Twitter or Whatsapp (we even call these platforms “feeds”!) to find something we would have already seen.
In such a time, we easily become habituated to the rapid pace of messages and information. It can seem that we seldom are able to take the time to read and think about what has been written.
When we consider our life of faith and endeavor in this world, it is important that we take the time to read and study God’s Word. The enemy of souls works to fill our lives and our time with mindless streams of information, so that we would not pause and read the Bible or the publications of believers.
Reading the Bible, God’s written Word, is an important activity that we all too often neglect in our daily life. We feel our smallness before God’s Word and often lack understanding. When we approach this reading with a humble mind, God can bless those moments! If we don’t understand what we read, we can freely with Luther “tip our hats in honor and pass it by.”
Reading the Bible is often challenging, considering the density of text and King James language. We have a great blessing in our publications work: believers have been moved to write about their life’s experiences or discuss Scripture texts. The articles in the publications of the believers are written at a level that is often easier to read, with the goal to encourage the believer in faith and shine the light of God’s kingdom into this world.
We sing in a dear and familiar song of Zion, “With selfishness and hurry, how blinded we become…” (SHZ 420:3). May we remember to pause in our busy lives and read the publications and study the Bible! These help us in our endeavor of faith, and often in the midst of everyday life, we find that these moments around Christian publications and God’s Word provide the encouragement to continue to believe. As Paul reminded the Colossian believers, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16).