We now reach the final chapter of John Frye's new book: Out of Print: A Novel. Much has happened in this short story after the disappearance of God's word in every visible form anywhere. A new interest has taken hold all over the world, first among Christians as well as Jews, to recover the missing books by finding those who had committed Scripture to memory. And Christians along with people all over the world actually hearing the word of God spoken out loud in their own language. All kinds of people who previously had no knowledge of God's word because of this phenomenon are able to hear it for themselves and are drawn to Jesus who is really the subject of the Story in a real sense.
In this chapter God's word begins to reappear until it is finally all restored. You begin to see the passages coming back and the people of the story, mostly Christians and a Jewish rabbi, interacting with the meaning of it all. First the Jeremiah 31 passage on the promised new covenant appears. Then the Ezekiel 36 passage that speaks of the same thing. Next John 1:14 appears followed by John 5:39-40, and 2 Corinthians 3:2-3. As the Christian and Jewish leaders are trying to make sense of it all and are coming to some points of conviction on it, then 2 Corinthians 5:15-19 appears followed by John 17:22-23. Afterwards whole books of the Bible come back until at last it is all restored.
A major conclusion that stands out to me from the story and from the Christian leaders (from the Jewish leaders as well, shown by the Jewish rabbi and by the interest in Jesus some Jews were having) in the story is that the word is to become flesh. That is, it's to penetrate into our lives and change us from the inside out. This is done in Jesus, who is the Word made flesh. And all of us in him partake of this reality of the new covenant.
Another major thought from it is that the word heard gives the hearers the sense of wanting to respond to it. The Hebrew words for "listen" and "obey" are synonymous. In our culture of reading silently, the idea is that we're in charge. But when it's read out loud to us we are being acted on, and it's up to us to respond.
To get the impact on people and how this plays out you'll need to read the book for yourself. It is quite a wonderful story to the point that you almost have a hard time thinking it didn't happen! And I love the epilogue and how the story ends. Wonderful picture of God's grace (of course you'll have to have read the story before to get it) and you see the pastor's heart John has in his telling of it.
What about us? When we pick up the Bible day after day what difference does it make in our lives and why? Are we having a relationship with it or with the God of the Bible? Are we entering into the Story of God's word in Jesus for ourselves? Or is it prmarily a book just telling us what to do and not do? And what significance does the word becoming flesh in Jesus have for our own lives? What place does the word have in us and how?
These questions and many more can be asked from the reading of this book. What hits you in your reading of the book or of these posts about the book? What would you like to share here?