Commentaries (2)

April 23, 2020

Ever since I retired, I try to start my day with a routine.  I used to get up and have breakfast, but Melissa and I have been practicing a daily sixteen hour fast since last October.  I’m not sure if it has done anything for my diet but it is a good mental discipline.  Instead of eating I get up, go outside, and retrieve the newspaper and the mail.  Then I go through the mail (mostly junk and bills) and sit down to read my paper.  Actually, reading the paper is just a prelude to what I really want to do.  The last pages of the paper contain the comics and Dear Abby and then finally the crossword puzzle.  I have become good at doing the crossword.  I started completing crosswords to keep my mind sharp.  At first, I prided myself on how fast I could complete a puzzle.  Then I realized I was not getting smarter; I was just learning how to do crosswords.

As I read the comic pages today one of the strips, “Grand Ave”, hit a note.  Today’s strip is about a conversation between the boy and his mother.  “Check out these cool books I found in the basement.  They’re called ‘Encyclopedias.’  You can search them for all sorts of useful information.  So a book publisher has started copying internet search engines?  Something like that.”  This strip brought back memories of the encyclopedias we had when I was a child.   I am sure they were not cheap, and money was not something to spend frivolously in my family, but they were an essential item for us kids.  I recall many hours poring over the information these books contained.  Maybe we just had them so dad did not have to answer questions.  After all, whenever I asked, his first response was, “Look it up.”  This was a parenting skill I passed on to my own son.

When I started preaching in the 1970’s a retired friend of mine gave me her set of Interpreter’s Bible commentaries.  I took notes from these books and used them every Sunday to prepare my sermons.  After I graduated from seminary, I started using study bibles to do the same thing.  Taking notes is second nature for me after having spent so many years in school.  I find it helps me remember.  Once I had the notes, I did not want to throw them away, so I put them in a notebook.  Over the years this notebook became the eight volumes that now sit on my shelf.  They are my go-to when I prepare on Sunday night for next week’s sermon.  If I am preaching on a new text, I again go to my commentaries and take new notes.  I do admit, now I also go to the internet search engines for additional information.

THOUGHTS:  During the course of this pandemic I have been forced to develop new routines.  I spend a lot more time on the computer than I used to and not as much time playing games on my phone.  I hunger for the contact provided by Zoom calls where before I never knew they existed.  I have become purposeful in staying connected with family and friends.  Now that this is my new routine, I am hopeful it will continue when I am again able to go outside.  If it is possible, Stay home. Stay safe.







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