by Patricia Lach Kreutzwieser
Warning: To literary purists, the following may be disturbing.
I do not enjoy reading. I said it. The endorphins of many people break the scale when talking about the latest book, but my eyes glaze over when discussing even a best seller. My secret had been shared with only a trusted few until one fateful afternoon about 15 years ago. I have hosted a weekly share’n’care group in my home for almost 20 years. It started as a group of moms of school-age children. We have Bible study and time for deprogramming around a cup of coffee. In those early years, many of them discussed reading as a luxury. I remained silent. This weekly gathering did afford the opportunity to pass around the odd novel as they were leaving my house. I noticed they clutched these books as I imagined smuggling alcohol in the time of prohibition. Then, one day I was blind-sided. Someone suggested we convert our Wednesday afternoons to a book club. I was forced out of the closet. I admitted I do not like to read. They were shocked, but I was forced to be honest. I suggested they continue to meet at my house as this was their scheduled free time, but I would not be involved in the group. Then, I shared my life story.
I was not illiterate; I just did not like to read. When we had novel studies or lit classes I discovered ways to pass the class without cracking a book. We did not have Cliff’s or Cole’s Notes in my little school, so God blessed me in other ways. We had long bus rides every day, and on that bus good friends willingly shared details and views of the books. Once, a friend read aloud, but that was stopped by the bus driver. He said not everyone, himself included, was interested in Great Expectations. Then there was the time I forced myself to read a book cover to cover. It was Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Did you know they made it into a movie? Sadly, neither Netflix nor computer downloads were available in the mid-70s. To think I could have been saved the pain of that tribulation but for the lack of technology.
Another point: I love the sound of the human voice. Devotions in our home were a natural occurrence. As we ate our breakfast Dad would read aloud Portals of Prayer and the Bible. Mom read (More) Little Visits with God before bed. When I left home I struggled with a personal devotional life as I was not moved to read the devotions myself. It was made easier when we had children. Again, we did devotions aloud around the breakfast table. But the children left home and the gathering around the breakfast table was less convenient. We went back to private devotions and my dissatisfaction with reading the devotions myself reared its ugly head.
Enter the internet. I was over the moon to discover the audio daily devotion by Lutheran Hour Ministries (sign up at https://www.lhm.org/newsroom/) could be sent to my email inbox. Now, each morning I click the mouse and Pastor Klaus or Pastor Seltz reads to me. My endorphins are piqued as I am reassured of God’s love for me through Christ. Also, I subscribe to LWML Mustard Seed Devotion from our LWML sisters to the south, at lwml.org/mustard-seed-devotions. No audio, but the daily Mustard Seed resource is a very short, thought-provoking devotion. I am spiritually fed with minimal reading. Occasionally, extra Bible references are suggested. I look up those on my downloaded ESV Bible.
Even though my devotional time may be non-traditional, I have a routine. I start my devotional time with LWML Mustard Seed; followed by private thanksgiving (technology included) and concern prayers; listen to the LHM devotion and close with the Lord’s Prayer. I am excited to start my day.
Also, both LWML (USA) and LHM have apps so I use them as downloads on my phone. Access is easy should I not be near my computer. As some people have additional devotional books for times they are moved to do extra, I have other audio devotional apps. I like to use them while waiting in the doctor’s office (I use my earbuds) or driving the car (I put it on speaker). And I have just downloaded an audio Bible. As you probably gathered, I never could get through reading the entire Bible even though it was strongly suggested as far back as my confirmation pastor. Well, guess what I am doing while I vacuum, dust, or fold laundry?
The Holy Spirit encourages us to spend time in devotion with the Lord. I am blessed He has made it possible for technology to be a part of my devotional life.
Patricia Kreutzwieser is a member of Emmanuel LWMLC, Moose Jaw, Sask., and VP Christian Growth for LWMLC Central District.
This article is taken from Tapestry, Summer 2017, publication of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing. An order form can be found at https://lutheranwomen.ca/publications-and-forms/tapestry. The magazine is published four times a year and is available in print, large print, audio and via download.