To dwell within the Bible. Inviting to travelling
At a small airport in Keflavik in Iceland it is cold. Waiting for a flight to Greenland, still delayed due to weather conditions, I’m looking through huge window panes at sleet slashing through the air in July. I’m finishing a coffee – it’s already my third mug today. I’m carefully wrapping my hands round the mug to warm them a bit.
Waiting a long time encourages reflection.
In the cold my thoughts drift to hot and sunny lands, to the African savannah, home of the Maasai people, and to sun-warmed Rome, to overcrowded squares in India and barren sands of the Arabian Desert, to calm and sheltered Greek Islands and bustling cities of Brazil. In all these places exist people with their own dreams and longings, their suffering and singing, their work and laughter, with their own views on the world and God.
Everywhere there are people who search for wisdom and love, people able to let themselves go in dancing, people watched over by God, as “Yahweh looks down from heaven at the children of Adam” (Ps 14, 2); yet “God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart” (1 Sm 16, 7).
How does God see? How does He look at us, at human love mingled with fear and pain? How does he view our sins and remorse? How does He view our suffering, in particular that of the innocent? How does He view non-Christians? And this most important question: can He cry?
Travelling had been my dream since childhood. In our home a globe of the world always maintained a presence and the sight of it made this dream even stronger, as did books with stories about far distant lands, different cultures and customs. When this dream was beginning to take shape, the basic contents of the backpack always included a pocket edition of the Bible. The Bible became a home in which I found refuge.
You can travel across grasslands, the savannah or move through snow on a dog sled; you can get lost in a network of enchanting streets in Venice or elbow your way through a noisy crowd in a bazaar in Cairo; you can climb the mountains of Mexico or gaze from the ferry upon the waters of the ocean between India and Sri Lanka, and still in all these places make yourself at home.
It is enough to open this Holy Book and immerse yourself in its words. To dwell within it.