Sunday Sermonizing: The Word for “Love of Old Things”
I am a bibliophile.
Book lovers. That’s not too strange. There are lots of us in the world. And while I do a fair amount of digital reading (e-books and audiobooks), I also still love a tangible, touchable, smellable book. Especially those of the antiquarian variety. We currently have too many physical books in our home than we have space for. I will either need to part ways with some or buy a new bookshelf.
Looks like a bookshelf is being worked into the budget over the next few weeks.
I am a taphophile
Okay, this one might need some explaining. I really like graveyards. Especially old ones with weathered tombstones and crumbling crypts. This seems morbid, but I assure you, dear reader, it’s not. Every tombstone, every crypt, has a human story attached. And not just one human story, hundreds of human stories. Family stories. Graves of fathers and mothers and children who died young and tragically. Graves of old folks who lived long lives and witnessed history and culture shifts that we may or may not have read in history books. There is something peaceful, rich and historical about graveyards. I think more about life than death when I visit one.
As a Jesus-follower and a believer in the Christian faith, I am becoming increasingly aware of the long-standing history of my faith and tradition.
To be clear, I’m not talking about the history of the institution. I am aware of that, as well - and there are far too many times when the institution crossed political lines and did terrible things in the past 2000 years. I sometimes wonder if it’s happening again today. History will be the ultimate judge of this.
I am talking about the history and tradition of faith. The spirituality and ethos that Jesus talked about - and more than talked about. He lived and breathed it. Believers gathered. Followed. Remembered. Ate together. Spurred each other on. Churches came, churches went. A few churches remained. But underneath all of this was the Church. And that’s what I'm a part of today. Something longstanding and historical. Ancient, even.
Sometimes I hear pastors and church leaders talk about the Church as if it were invented in 1983. Like it’s a startup needing to “jump the S-curve” and evolve into Church Version 3.0.
But there are things the church has been doing for centuries - millennium - that speak to the core of who we are and what we believe.
Prayers, written and spoken, pre-planned and extemporaneous. The Word. Community. Service. Sacrifice. Sacrament. Liturgy.
We are part of something that both new and ancient.
And I love this.
Maybe my obsession with old books and old graveyards has nothing to do with paper and tombstones. Maybe it’s that I simply love old things - the feeling of astonishment knowing someone has walked these paths before me. And that we will never walk alone.
I tried to find the word for “someone who loves old things.” Apparently, such a word does not exist. I wondered about Paleophile - but that seems to carry innuendo involving an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs.
But perhaps the lack of a word is for the best.
But there are things in this world that don’t change. And in a day when change is expected, constant, and ever-accelerating, I find particular comfort in that.