I’m reading a little book right now that doesn’t have a copyright page or date, but the inscription on the inside cover (to a Mrs. Keziah Parr – a name you still hear everyday!) is dated March 8, 1905. I know it’s nothing special; not even really that antique in the grand scheme of things; but there’s something about holding a book in my hands that was held and read over a hundred years ago that makes me feel connected to a picture and world much bigger than my current one. Then, as I begin to read, this becomes even more true. The book is a collection of poems from great Christian writers of the past titled “Gems of Christian Poetry.” The words of familiar hymns, many originally poems, weave their way through the pages, surrounded by numerous pieces I had never read before, and which I doubt remain in too many a number of books (though not for lack of quality). Among the authors’ names is practically a who’s who of Christian poetry and hymn writing greats: George Herbert, Christina Rosetti, Spurgeon, Isaac Watts, Milton, John Newton, Whitefield. But then there are other poems labeled with names such as ‘Mrs. Browning,’ or simply ‘Pope,’ and many more with no name at all, in itself an interesting tribute to the memory of the innumerable saints of old whose names may be remembered by no one, but who have deeply affected our current lives and faith.
I tend to overthink things. That’s probably already evident in this blog, and honestly, is not bad in all areas. But sometimes it is. I can get so caught up in a line of thinking, analyzing, figuring it out, that minute details take on a level of importance and complexity far greater than they were ever meant to bear. The result of this is that I can have a tendency to rush by the true, though seemingly simple, realities where I really need to spend the most time in order to see all other things in proper perspective.
I was caught by a reminder of this the other morning I was reading J.B.Phillips’ introduction to the book of Romans in his modern English translation. Continue reading