“He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life.”
I recently had the pleasure of working with Year 10 High School English students discussing the books Fahrenheit 451 and 1984. The insights and engagement of these young people were most inspiring. Yet, when I received an envelope of hand-written thank you letters in the mail, it really got me thinking.
Well ahead of their time, each of these classic books, put under the microscope, present a rather dark vision of modern electronic technology, and the attendant lifestyle, or lack thereof. Yet, like most of us in today’s world, each of the participants in the classroom conversation finds themselves easy players in the digitized land of Macs, PCs, cell-phones, Nooks, Kindles, tablets and iPods. By and large these are life enhancing products.
Far beyond the conception of visionary authors gone by, the toys we have at our daily disposal are extremely powerful and truly incredible. Essentially, at our fingertips, we have pocket-portals to the world. Yet, almost all of them are hampered by a glaring lack of real permanence!
For instance, it’s cool looking at the various images teens capture with ease on their iPhone cameras. High School memories and missives written by friends can be a real joy when they are acquired and received on a net-book screen. However, all of these treasures can and will forever disappear in a flash if a memory card gets corrupted or a hard-drive fails.
While they may look great on an LCD display, unless special emails, essays, electronic journals and pictures are printed and intentionally kept on paper, the data that completely makes up these uniquely priceless expressions is nothing more than 0’s and 1’s. It is simply a binary code that defines our lives, and can dissolve without a trace in a heartbeat. Even CD-R back-up disks are in no way better suited to longevity than a small file cabinet or crude shoe-box with priceless notes penned by an ancestor.
Yes, I happily write this piece on a PC. Still, in the decades ahead, I believe we will come to increasingly value those moments when actual handwriting was used on quality paper, lovingly folded, excitedly read and carefully stored.
Passing through the season of Good Friday and Easter, we’re deliberately faced with life’s utter transience and it’s potential permanence in Jesus Christ. Indeed, our faith is entirely based in the promise that earthly life can also be eternal.
So it is especially illuminating for our generation to hear that Our Father in Heaven has our names written in The Book of Life. Symbolic? Sure, but the symbolism reflects a permanent truth that’s inexpressibly superior to a Memory Stick or SD Card.
Even as we strive to save our unique and irreplaceable documents, seeking some sense of personal security, let us also focus even more on being personally saved. Through Jesus, the Word tangibly made Flesh, may the assurance of Resurrection be indelibly and forever manifest in our faith.