Summer Reads You Can't Put Down!

I love a good book. Summers have a way of offering blocks of time to read. Summers invite us to books purchased months ago, which were placed on a pile called “future read,” to which we say “Finally, it’s your turn.” Books recommended to us by friends or retrieved from best sellers list on the New York Times, are often added to the pile. Then there are reads that grab your attention and won’t let you put it down. I just finished reading My God and I, by Lewis Smedes. It was published fourteen years ago and the moment it came out, I knew I wanted to read it. Back in 2002 I began a 7-year Doctor of Ministry course at Fuller Theological Seminary, and it was there that I learned of Lewis Smedes death. He was on top of a ladder putting on Christmas lights, when he had a fall from which he never recovered. My professor, and his colleagues, were still grieving their loss. He was adored by faculty, students and readers around the world. He started writing when he was fifty and wrote Forgive and ForgetMere Morality; and Sex for Christians; as well as Caring and Commitment; and Shame and Grace. Lewis Smedes began his spiritual memoir upon his retirement and traced God’s steps walking beside him, from his grandparents, parents, childhood, adolescents, places of study, work and employment, all the way through his retirement. His honesty, vulnerability and pastoral sensitivity drew me in and made me feel as if I’d gained a friend. In his closing chapters I did not want the story to end, fearing I too would be grieving his loss. Good books can do that to you. They have a way of drawing you in emotionally, making you want to read them again. It reminds me of the greatest book ever written, one who’s ending really points to a new beginning. That’s the power of the gospel, the New Testament, the letters of the Apostles and the book of Revelation. It’s that same book that shaped, transformed and inspired Lewis Smedes, and so many other authors who inspire us with their thoughts. It’s by far the best seller each year, even when combining all other books printed that same year. Summer reads are great, especially when you get a book that you cannot put down. The beauty of the Bible is that it’s a life time read.

Peter Van Geest