After seven plus weeks of battling the worst allergies I've ever had, I finally went to the doctor to get a Kenalog injection. I spoke with my dad about it, and numerous friends who had received one and all said that after trying everything else, this was the only thing that worked for them. So off I went, more elated than ever before to get a shot. It's possible I skipped through the door whistling happy tunes. I don't fully remember. The nurse came in and quickly mentioned, "well, it looks like this shot is administered in the buttock," to which I quickly exclaimed, "Ohhh, sweet!" But a statement that I meant to say out loud, dripping with sarcasm and a hint of depression (read: "Oh...no. This isn't going to be fun!") came out full of anticipation and excitement (read: "AWESOME! I'M GETTING A SHOT IN MY BUTT!").
Well, needless to say, I turned eight shades of red and then tried to quickly cover with a small joke that went something like this as I prepared for my shot of embarrassment: "You know," I said with nervous laughter, "my alergies are bothering me more towards my facial region." Zero response. Crickets. Tough room.
But something has stuck with me all week, especially as I've been reading through the Psalms. Tone is everything. The way you speak words out loud, and structure your thoughts into sentences can really influence the way people perceive your message. Isn't that the truth?
And as I read statements this week to myself (not out loud, but in my mind) like "Rejoice in the Lord and be glad!" and "Praise the Lord, my soul" and "your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness" I kept thinking about this issue of tone, wondering if I've been missing out on what the author of the Psalms was speaking?
Surly, these passionate words were not put together in a serene and peaceful setting. I can see many being written in emotional euphoria, through tears of happiness and in-between sessions of all out praise and worship. And some were probably grinded out in fits of rage, anger and despair. There is passion in this text. And by simply reading the words on the page in the cool of the day, in our bed at night, at daybreak at the table with a morning cup of joe...I'm afraid we are missing the tone.
I know today we enter a new book (1 Kings) but I'm not ready yet to leave the Psalms. So my devotional today is focusing more on this overall thought that's been gnawing at me all week, instead of directly from today's reading. I missed a few days again this week, and I'll be returning to these chapters and reading them out loud, as if I were trying out for the lead in a Broadway production. In my office. In my car. At home before the family is asleep. Maybe I'll even raise a few eyebrows in the park. And as I continue reading this year, I will attempt to do the same.
I'm not reading the Bible this year simply to say I did it. This is not a task for me. I'm doing this to become more connected to a God that is full of passion for me and for the world around me. I'm doing this to become more studied in how to fully become more Christ like. I'm reading to discover, recall and become engaged. And simply reading words on a page, in a monotone voice in my head for a few minutes each day, will serve me no good as I strive to truly connect with the material.
So I will go forward with a mission to respect the tone required by the text. I guess all I'm saying is that my Bible reading needs a little shot in the arm.
Or the buttock.