Wednesday, September 7, 2016

big deal / small font

The Word for today: 1 Chronicles 1-9
mark this:  1 Chronicles 6:5-7
Abishua the father of Bukki, Bukki the father of Uzzi, Uzzi the father of Zerahiah, Zerahiah the father of Meraioth, Meraioth the father of Amariah, Amariah the father of Ahitub...
Barack Obama gets big font.  So does Miley Cyrus.  I never read anything about either of them.
Tell me the issue and I will tell you Barack Obama's position on it.  Tell me the occasion and I can write and recite his speech in my head before he delivers it.  I don't need to read any more about him. 
Tell me where Miley's next performance is and I'll tell you where ever lower levels of abasement are about to occur.   I don't need to read the details in my newspaper.
The word "newspaper" might sound quaint and faintly old-fashioned to many of you who get your news from the 'Net.  It sounds old-fashioned to me, too--but I still have one delivered every day.
When I open my newspaper, I'm looking most avidly for things printed in agate font.  That's the tiny space-saving font that you'll find when you look at the last page of the sports section, where the baseball box scores and the horse racing results are printed.  You'll also see that font when you look at the stock market listings, if your newspaper still prints them.
What I'm looking for is information about two enduring passions, information that doesn't find its way to the internet. 
Passion #1 is cross-country/track & field.  I run daily and occasionally I race--if you can still call it that.  Through the years (and recently through my sons) I have come to know the local running scene.  I know the runners, their coaches, and often the names of their dogs.  I avidly follow a 2-miler from Alden, a half-miler from Barker, a sprinter from Amherst, and a steeplechaser from Springville.  I follow a shot putter from Clarence and a long jumper from Niagara Falls.
And--even though I know their times the day before they are printed--I get the biggest kick out of seeing the names "Frankie Pfeil" and "Eddy Pfeil"  in that agate font.
Passion #2 is poetry.  I'm the geek who shows up for poetry readings.  Well, I was until writing Bible classes and blog articles consumed all my time.  But out of habit I still follow, in the agate print of our newspaper's weekly entertainment supplement, the dwindling listings of poetry readings and open mic nights at local colleges and coffee houses.
So I'm used to straining my eyes over lists of "minor" names in "minor" events, because those names and endeavors mean more to me than all the headliners -- all the Baracks and Mileys and Tigers and Biebers -- ever will.
When a Bible reading schedule, like Stand in the Rain, lists 9 chapters to be read in one day, the signal is sent that the reader isn't expected to really read all the names listed in 1 Chronicles 1-9.
Just between you and me, that signal is valid; we don't expect you to read them all.  I never have and I never will. 
What we want you to walk away with aren't the names of the children, but the heart of the Father.
I don't know...
Abishua the father of Bukki,
or Bukki the father of Uzzi,
or Uzzi the father of Zerahiah,
or Zerahiah the father of Meraioth,
or Meraioth the father of Amariah,
or Amariah the father of Ahitub (1 Chronicles 6:5-7)
...but God does.  To him, those names might jump off the page of scripture like the names "Frankie Pfeil" and "Eddy Pfeil" jump off the back pages of the Buffalo News to me.
Who knows but that in our Father's Bible these names might occupy some of the most well-worn pages.

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