In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. (John 1:1-3)
"Once upon a time…"
"Long ago in a galaxy far, far away…"
"In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit…"
What is it about the opening words of a good story? You read them and instantly you are pulled into another world, eager for the tale to unfold before your eyes. They cause a sense of excitement for the adventure to come, whether it is a brand new paperback or an old volume worn out with many past readings.
The opening of a story raises many questions: What is a Hobbit? Why does he live in a hole? Is something going to happen to this Hobbit or to his hole? Even though I know the answers to all of those questions, I still love to read that first line. I can't wait to find out what the story is going to tell me this time around, the details I'll discover that I've never noticed before or the little things that I had forgotten about since the last time I read it.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…"
"In the year King Uzziah died…"
"And it came to pass in those days…"
The Bible contains its share of great story openers, too, and just as with The Hobbit, I can always discover something new or rediscover something forgotten every time I go back to its familiar tales. I confess, however, that I don't do this nearly as often as I should. I pray that I may never forget to approach the Bible as a favorite story, ready to be comforted by its familiar words and challenged by its truths. I pray that I will become engrossed in the wonderful adventure of God's love and read it over and over again, until it becomes as worn and tattered as a beloved novel.