One of the portions of the haggadah was the "dayenu." The dayenu is a litany that declares that God is enough (dayenu), with or without any of the blessings God bestows on us.
I thought of dayenu this morning as I read this post on Douglas Groothuis's blog, Culture Watch: Thoughts of a Constructive Curmudgeon. Here, he proposes:
For one month, all Bibles and all biblical material on the internet and in other books disappear. There are no biblical texts available. We are thrown back to our memories alone. How would this Bible evacuation affect your daily routines, the teaching and preaching in the church, your email messages, your conversations, your prayers?First of all, I think dayenu informs our answers to this proposal, or at least it should. It is enough that God, revealed in Jesus Christ, simply is. Our frequently careless, cheap treatment of the Bible as a tool for besting our opponents is shameful. If that's the best thing we do with it, better that we should make it disappear for a while until we learn better. But I think what Groothuis was getting at is that too many of us also take a very casual approach to learning the Bible, growing to love it, and never really appropriate it. And bless him for observing that, while he is all for memorizing Scripture, memorization is not enough.
Who would miss the Scriptures and why? Who would you seek out to if you wanted to hear the Word of God from memory? (I would go to my wife. She recently memorized seven single-spaced typed pages of Scriptures. I also read that John Piper memorized Romans 1-8.) How much would you have stored in your own soul to draw from? How would the teaching in seminaries change?
Some of the most dangerous, frightening times in my life (which I won't share here or now) have driven me to the Bible, which has never failed to be a lifeline. At such times, I read as if my life depended upon it, and perhaps it did. I've never forgotten the passages, many of them lengthy, that kept me connected with the One who gives us the Scriptures as a most precious gift. No, not all of these passages are memorized, at least not perfectly. And besides that, I use a number of different translations now. Memorized in one is likely to be considered "wrong" by someone who memorized the same passage from a different translation. But I digress...
The point is, God is self-revealed and I am self-revealed through the Bible. I know both God and myself better for having claimed the Book for myself. I have come to know and love the God revealed therein by knowing and loving the Book itself.
Such treasure is not to be kept to myself. And here, I think, is where, like our passover haggadah, it is time to say "lo dayenu" ("it is not enough"). It is lo dayenu to merely memorize the words of Scripture. It is lo dayenu to proof-text our "superior" opinions with Scripture. It is lo dayenu to assume that sword drills make our children Bible-literate. It is lo dayenu to observe a quiet time where we systematically read through the Bible in a specified length of time.
It is dayenu that the God of Scripture is with us. It is dayenu that the Holy Spirit teaches us what our reading cannot. It is dayenu to live the sacred words, breathe the sacred words, teach both the sacred words and the application of them to faithful living. And it is certainly dayenu to do all this without thumping the Book that contains these sacred words in such a way as to negate the words' credibility to a doubting world.