Remember when you were a kid? Remember when you had that 19″ television with UHF and VHF frequencies? Remember when you were the remote? Your favorite program was about to start. You turned on the television and the picture was good. Yes! You went back to the sofa, got all settled in, looked up and, GRRRRRRR, the picture was nothing but snow.
Everyone else has settled in by now. You, the remote, have been sent back to the television to “tune it”. The closer you get to the television the clearer the picture gets. You turn the knobs, everybody else yelling, “there, there, just a bit more”. You back away from the television only to find the farther away you get the fuzzier the picture.
Sent back for more tuning you begin fiddling with the rabbit ears. When you touch the antenna it immediately becomes clearer, but not clear. You twist them every which way, the picture becoming clearer and fuzzier, clearer and fuzzier. You let go with your left hand. Ah that’s a bit better. Pick up your right foot. Better still. Now fold your left arm up behind your back. Nah, that’s no good. Stretch it out. Now stretch your right leg in the opposite direction. You’re not holding your mouth right. Stick your tongue out.
Now, standing on your left foot, with your right leg stretched into the air and your left arm stretched in the opposite direction, your tongue sticking out, and standing so close to the television you’ll “go blind” the picture is finally clear. There it is. A moment of clarity. By now your exhausted and don’t really even care what’s on the television. It can’t be that good. The rest of the family shouting, “stand right there, don’t move!”. You lose your balance and it messes the whole picture up. Now it’s all snowy again. By this point nobody really cares anymore and they’ve all gone to find something else to do.
This is an awful lot like what seems to happen when I read scripture these days. What once was crystal clear when I first tuned in became a snowy mess as soon as I backed away to get a panoramic view. So with so many shouting from the sofa, “Turn it to the left. Hold one foot up. Put your arm in this position. Stand on your head. Don’t let go of the Bible. Don’t hold the Bible so closely. Hold the Bible closer. Poke your tongue out. Look at it through these special lenses. No, those are the wrong ones, try these.”, I’m exhausted. Makes me wonder if the programming is really that good. Maybe I’d rather just go make mud pies and play army with the neighbor kids. Except I can’t because it matters.