Friday, September 24, 2010

"The Daily Periodical"

As I ate breakfast today, I realized how much I miss the newspaper.

We cancelled our subscription during the 2008 election cycle because our local paper and its national news agency failed in its mission to report the news in so vital a matter. They were rather intensely partisan, and as far as I am concerned, forfeited their right to be known as a newspaper. Many other reasons could be cited for our decision, and my understanding is that we were not alone in bidding farewell to an institution that had once been a trusted and valued friend.

I had read our paper, usually while eating breakfast, since I was 6 or 7 years old. As a child, I first visited the sports section, then the comics. I even glanced at the news, especially when something momentous took place. As I matured, the news section became more and more important, and yes, as I matured even more, I began to look at the obituary page just about every day (I suppose, as Mark Twain said, "to make sure I'm not in it!"). I wrote many letters to the editor, and had quite a few printed (a few weeks ago, I had an idea for a letter. But then I remembered, we don't even read that paper anymore). Frances and I took up competitive Cyryptoquipping in recent years - between each other - and I even won every now and then! Old newspapers were also good for lighting the grill in one of those chimney starter devices, and few things are better for swatting flies. But all that's gone now, and it makes me sad thinking about it. Journalism is reeling in America, at least in the sense that many newspaper publishers and editors seem to have no concept of the time-honored divide between the news and editorial pages. Sad, very sad.

"For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89).

The shifting sands of a fallen world provide contrast and backdrop for recognizing the only truly solid ground that exists. There is a living Document that that will be the same today as it was yesterday, and the same tomorrow as it is today. It's Author is the reason - "I am the Lord. I change not" (Malachi 3:6). Read with a humble, trusting, expectant heart, the Bible is a daily periodical in the sense that the Holy Spirit is present within its pages and within our spirits if we have believed. He makes the manna of Christ fresh each day for our needy hearts, and rather than containing an obituary page, as it were, the New Testament rather proclaims the glorious truth that the Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, and that "ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God" (Colossians 2:12).

I miss the fact that our city no longer has a newspaper. I miss reading it at breakfast. However, the loss provides opportunity for remembrance and rejoicing that the daily news from Heaven is perfectly true, perfectly reliable, and perfectly faithful in declaring the doings of the God who "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11). I won't be swatting flies with it, of course, and I won't be losing Cryptoquip contests to Frances far more often than not. More importantly, I won't be shaking my head with exasperation upon reading about the strangeness of a world and culture that is beyond my understanding. The latter is surely a good thing, and reminds me that the Daily Periodical I will read each morning promises continual edification rather than exasperation, preparing me for the challenges of this life, and the glories of the next.

"As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."
(Proverbs 25:25)

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