Luke 14:1, 7-14
I’ve been reorganizing my books, and it’s been really useful emotionally, a way of sorting through my thoughts and feelings now that I’ve retired. And one of the things I’ve discovered is the spiritual power of alphabetizing.
I have a lot of poetry books, and I was going to rank them, my favorites first, but somehow I found myself putting them all in alphabetical order, the great next to the not-so-great, the famous with the obscure. There was a wonderful randomness about it, a democracy, and yet at the same time a clear, useful order. It was oddly exhilarating.
In the Gospel last Sunday Jesus says not to sit first at the table but last, and not to invite the rich to a meal but the poor and the outcast. The first shall be last and the last shall be first, he says again, which is to say, we’re all in this together. The earthly hierarchies no longer apply.
Another useful thing about reorganizing my library is that I’ve found all the duplicates, all the multiple copies of the same book—in one case, four—of Margaret Ralph’s book on how to read the Bible, And God Said What? I really depend on that book, I really need it, and over the years when I haven’t been able find it, between my office and home, I’ve just gotten another one.
And God Said What?
That there is order and purpose, but an order and a purpose not based on power, not based on prestige.
That we all have a place on the shelf.
That we all die—and we all live. Blessed be the Lord!