Monday, May 19, 2008

Out of season, but oh so timely!

Gordon Atkinson aka Real Live Preacher blows me away on a regular basis. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry. He makes me think. He makes me wish I lived a whole lot closer to San Antonio. He makes me know that if I did live closer to San Antonio, I'd become a Baptist (which is so damned funny I giggle out loud at the very thought).

Anyway, RLP is running a bit behind these days, I guess. Today he posted this item having to do with sacred abbreviations for Holy Names. Boy, did it hit a hot button for me. I grew up in a RC congregation where IHS was emblazoned upon the front of the priest's vestments. I knew what the Chi-Ro meant before I could read. In my word processor's Auto Correct dictionary, Xn=Christian; Xy=Christianity, Xmas =Christmas. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Not very many years ago I noticed for the first time people complaining at Christmas-time about the use of "X" in the word Xmas. It was allegedly "disrespectful". The first time I read a statement to that effect, I truly thought I was reading satire, until I realized the person was serious. I still can't believe it, but know it to be true.

To my mind one of the most amazing things about the Bible is that we have any copies of it at all. For that we can only thank the holy men who crouched over their vellum in monasteries all over Europe and the Near East for hundreds of years, copying and preserving the Holy Words. Like Gordon, whenever I use the Chi, I do it for the same reason the scribes did, to save space and effort. In so doing, I intentionally pay homage the thousands of nameless holy men who cherished, saved, copied and handed on to us the Scripture we know today.

Since I believe that writing is a sacred act almost regardless of the subject matter, and since I spend many, many hours a week crouching over my laptop struggling to put down words that I am inspired to write, honoring Scribes is especially significant to me.

However, in the interest of fairness and balance, I feel the need to give equal time to Jesus, and to recall that the description of the scribal profession attributed to Him includes the word "Vipers". ['Course I like to think Jesus was referring more to the Pharisees when he used that world, but that could just be me.]

Regardless, I'm guessing it would probably be best not to get too terribly cockey about the "Sacred Scribe" business..... The important thing is to do the work the Lord has set for us to do. Abbreviations and all!

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