One of my favorite memories is sitting in traffic on Friday nights on Interstate 5 with my father and my brothers listening to classic oldies as me made our way to my mom’s house. Twice a month we would pack into my fathers red 1982 Ford Bronco. It seemed that we always made that trip with the same folks surrounding us.
On those Friday nights my world exponentially got bigger. We must have made that trip over 500 times and every time we did I witnessed something new, something different. On one trip with The Beach Boys blaring “In my Room” in the background I would notice the giant cat faces watching me from the Los Angeles River. Then next trip I would dream about the people that lived in those fancy Spanish tiled homes up on the hill as we sang along with Ricky Nelson.
Those hours in the rush hour traffic did not stress me out nor did they cause me a great deal of alarm. Those hours sitting in traffic crawling along provided me some of my best memories of my brothers and father. We were four men hanging out. Sometimes my dad would pull of the interstate and take a detour through his memory and show us a day no longer present but within him.
We would hear, “Right here on this corner there once was a market. This was the market where your uncle and I used to buy baseball cards.” My father would turn another corner and point to a house and say, “My first girlfriend lived right there.” He would drive to a dilapidated field and share the glory stories of his playing days when they did not have facemasks to speak of. On these nights the magic was particularly potent and the music was slightly fainter.
It is this kind of emotion I am reminded of when I study scripture or witness others studying scripture. That magic of yesterday the realness of life being imparted by those that lived it to us those that hunger to live it, this is the emotion that I get as I read scripture. I try to imagine the words I read flowing forth from the characters I am reading about. I try to have conversations with them, “Why what do you mean that first shall be last…?”
Some of my favorite stories in our Holy canon have earned that place by their continued engagement within my life. The parable of the Lost Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl Merchant continue to shed light on my faith that keeps me fond of them. The Epistle of James remains a favorite because of the time of my life I was introduced to it as a source of courage and strength. The Gospel of Mark is my favorite gospel because I relate to its volatile nature and love that it leaves me with more questions than answers. The book of Job is my favorite book in the Tanakh [Hebrew Bible] and it still makes me upset to read it and try to reconcile the God in Job with the God in the Gospels.
I hope that everyone gets to engage the Bible and their devotions [personal & corporate] in a manner that awakens emotions and memories of the past. Imagine if the Bible moved from being Holy to being wholly among us. Now there is a story that I would love to remember.