To my Kaite, On the occasion of her departure for the Dominican Republic. I love you. You use this book well. Dad
My dad gave me his Minister’s Prayer Book the day I left for the Dominican. Both law and gospel in that sweet little message. I hate to say it, but, the jacket sleeve explains why I perhaps have not been able to “use this book well.” It says; “The aim of this book is to deepen and discipline the minister’s life of private devotion.” Perhaps I have not been able to use the book as a deaconess intern but I have used it as a daughter. On the jacket cover where I found the purpose of the book I found a piece of tape to preserve and hold down the jacket flap. On the following page where my father wrote his note I also find his library seal. Throughout the book are his markings, notes, highlights, and impressions of where paper clips once were. It even still has a mixed smell of his cologne and office. All of these are little reminders for me.
To “use this book well” I suppose I should find value in it and use for it. As I just stated, perhaps as a deaconess intern it isn’t as valuable, but as a daughter it is a treasure. I was a daughter before I was a deaconess intern and so for that it influences the type of deaconess I am to be. As I thumb through the pages I find myself gravitating towards those parts which my father has highlighted. I read them and know at some point for one reason or another my father clung to them. He was once where I am now, his hands once pressed these pages. That he would give this book to me as a comfort says that it offered much consolation for his personal devotional life and for the sharing of the word with others. I cherish every mark, every note, every folded page not for the author but for the previous owner. Even if the book itself has nothing to offer me, every bit of it that reminds me of my father reminds me how much I am loved by him. For that alone I feel I can say I have used it well.
My heavenly father is much the same. He gives me all his comfort, all his promises, all of his word and claims me for His own though baptism. He also gives me the law in order to give me the gospel. In His word He says; “You use this book well” so that he can tell me “I love you.” We hear His word, we know the law upon our hearts, but do we understand His communication of love? Do we see how precious His seal upon us is in times of difficulty? Do we treasure the trials He gives us to draw us closer to Him? We may not always see a treasure disguised as something normal and irrelevant. In our baptism we have been blessed beyond reason and comprehension. We hold something so normal as water and word, and receive something so grand that we can turn to every day in trials, griefs and difficulties. Then in our final moments, we can know without a doubt that it is ours. We hold all the riches of heaven as real as we hold a thin wafer and drink some wine. He gives it to us, and he gives us the means by which we may know it without a doubt. He has equipped us for the journey, and promises to be forever with us.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.
“There are greater honors and higher ranks, but there is no other office that refreshes the weariness of the heart and brings comfort to the poor and speaks peace to the dying and shows a lost world the way home.” -Hermann Bezzel