People of the Books
But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. – John 21:25 (NRSV)
Recently, I reorganized my books. My intention had been to consolidate all the unread ones on a single shelf where I’d be more likely to see them and, theoretically, read them. Then I counted my unread books, and I decided the shelf would be for the unread books I most wanted to read.
They almost fit.
Later, I was introduced to the Japanese concept of tsundoku: the practice of accumulating unread books and letting them pile up around you without being overly concerned about getting to them. Freeing.
I don’t know what tsundoku is supposed to be about or for. If it’s supposed to teach you something or not. I know my own pile of books is good for my humility. So much knowledge, wisdom, beauty I will never take in. Could never.
It’s that way with Jesus, too, John says. However much you’ve read. However well you think you know him. There’s so much more. Too much for even the world to hold. Let alone me.
Humbling. But also exciting.
That’s the other feeling I get from that shelf of unread books. There is still so much to learn, to explore, so much good stuff to discover. Maybe even my favorite book, hiding somewhere in that pile.
And it’s also that way with Jesus. We will never know enough to consider ourselves experts. But what a joy to dive in, to find some hidden beauty, a new story just waiting there for us. Maybe our favorite one yet.
Uncontainable Christ, tell me more.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.