A place of mystery, a dark region of unexplored secrets, a fairy realm of magical enchantment, only the bravest dare delve its depths, and only the most foolish do so without trepidation. Slowly I reach out, hands trembling. What lies within? What treasures might I find? What dangers?
Gently prying the sides apart, I peer into the gloom.
My wife’s purse is an amazing place.
You doubt? She’s a mother, public school teacher, and children’s ministry volunteer. Spend that much time around small children and I’m sure your purse would be pretty interesting as well. She has to be prepared for every occasion, and she picks up all kinds of odds and ends along the way. Magicians have their bottomless hats; my wife has her purse. She wins.
I love watching her try to find stuff in there. After a little rummaging, she can usually locate the important things fairly quickly: wallet, cell phone, keys, lipstick. I don’t know how she does it. If she asks me to get her keys, I usually just bring the whole purse. Otherwise, I’d be there all afternoon. My wife, though, she can track them down in an instant.
But, when she has to find something she hasn’t used in a while, that’s when the real treasures come out: toys, candy, pens, mysterious “presents” from her kids, small herbivores. (Okay, maybe not the last. But you get the point.) Beneath the Kleenex and nail files, down in the wrinkled corners, far from the light of day, that’s where the fun stuff hides.
I like to think of my wife’s purse as a magic bag filled with treasure. On any given day, she’ll probably pull out just a few. Others get used weekly or monthly. And some particularly rare treasures almost never breathe fresh air.
For many of us, the Gospel is just like this, a bag full of treasures, some so tarnished from daily use that we’ve lost sight of how amazing they truly are, others pushed so far down that we’ve forgotten all about them, if we even knew they were there in the first place.
[This is an excerpt from my book Good News for the Living Dead: A Fresh Take on the Gospel Story.]