Moving Up, Moving Over, Moving On

All living things move.  I remember learning this in my high school and college science classes.  The movement may be incredibly small or imperceptibly slow, but the movement is there.   And so my family finds itself in a place of movement.
One daughter and son are moving UP – moving to a new northern home, over 1300 miles away, courtesy of the United States Coast Guard.  It’s an exciting time that they’ve anticipated for several years, and will probably be their home for the next three years.  For them this will mean new jobs, new friends, new church and new routines.  Not to mention new weather.  Rather than eight months of heat they will be living in eight months of cold temperatures.  There will be snow tires and snow plows in their future, and they will be trading in their flip-flops for snow boots.
Another daughter and son are moving OVER – moving over to the next county to a brand new home.  It’s an exciting time to move into a home they’ve been working on for the last year, after lots of planning and budgeting and thousands of decisions.  It’s a dream come true as they’ve outgrown their current home.  For them this will mean a new neighborhood and some new routines, but the luxury of keeping their same jobs, church and friends.  It will be nice that they remain only a two hour drive away.
For all of us, we are moving ON – moving on to a life of new milestones and memory-making.  As we approach the second anniversary of Michael’s death, we look forward more often than we look back.  More and more we create family memories that Michael is not a part of.  Family vacations and celebrations which he cannot attend.  New experiences that we would love to have him here for – for his humor and his wisdom, for his uncanny way of putting people together to accomplish the goals before us.  But the choice was not ours.  Yes, we are moving on.
(Just for the record, if someone had said to me a year ago that “life goes on”, I may have punched them in the nose.  Just go back to some of my early blog rants about the things people say if you want to hear my outrage.)
Yes, it’s true.  Live goes on and we move on.  It’s not that we have forgotten the ones we love or no longer miss them.  We certainly do miss their presence with us.  But we carry them in our minds and hearts everywhere we go.  We sometimes talk to them as if they are here, and we imagine how they would respond in different situations.
It’s not the same, and it’s not what we would choose.  But we are living creatures and all living creatures move.

In Other Words

In the last few months I’ve gone back to studying the Bible.  I’ve not returned to the exact same methods I used in years past.  It’s been a more casual setting with new and old friends from a variety of backgrounds.  And I’m learning so much.  I think most importantly over the last few months I am gaining a new appreciation for scripture, and it’s coming from two distinct experiences.

The first situation is happening right in my own living room.  Each week a group of friends is gathering for study, discussion, sharing and plenty of laughter as we study together.  In the process of coming together, several members of our group mentioned that they didn’t have a Bible of their own.  After talking about it within the group they each went out and bought a new Bible to read and bring each week when we gathered together.  For many of them, this is their first personal copy of the Bible.  We’ve talked about how the Bible was written, its contents, different versions, how to find things, and how to use it.  And they are so excited.  Each week they are reading and learning things they’d never heard before.  As for me, I confess that in recent years I have become quite accustomed to using the electronic Bible I’ve downloaded on my phone and on my tablet.  And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with this (I do love the convenience), I have a new appreciation for the feeling of the pages in my hands, for the sound I hear when turning the thin paper, and going through the names of the books in my head as I look up a verse.  It’s been like being reacquainted with an old friend; especially as I reread so many old notes from past sermons and studies.

The second situation is going on thousands of miles away.  Last month I had the opportunity to attend a conference dealing with Bible translation.  Now this isn’t a discussion of the New American Standard versus the King James Version.  This is the process whereby the scriptures are translated into the languages of people around the world.  And the things I learned were amazing.  Like, the fact that there are almost 7,000 known languages in the world.  And of these languages, nearly 3,300 have no Bible in their own language.  There are millions of people around the world that not only don’t have a Bible, but are unable to have a Bible in their language because it simply doesn’t exist!  In addition to the 3,300+ languages that have no Bible, there are another 2,000 known languages that have only a portion of the New Testament translated.  Can you imagine?

What’s more — traditionally the Bible translation process has taken approximately 25 years to complete in a new language, at a cost of about 2 million dollars.  About 20 years ago some changes were made in how to best accomplish this task and the process was revised so that a new translation would take only about 10 years to complete at a cost of $200,000.  Great progress!  But in the last three years, as a result of technology and the local churches getting involved in translating into their own heart languages, some translations are taking as little as a few months or even weeks to complete a New Testament in their local language.  This is amazing!  Because of these latest advances, it is very possible that all the known languages of the world could have a Bible translation available to them by the year 2025!  How incredible is that!

And so, I have come to a new personal appreciation for having a Bible to read.  It’s my “go- to” place to seek wisdom and to be uplifted.  Whether it’s an electronic image on a screen, a pocket New Testament or an old leather bound red-letter edition, I’m more and more grateful that I have the privilege to read these words, hide them in my heart and be comforted by their message.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.   Revelation 7:9