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A Book Signing

Exodus 24:3b-4a &7a
And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD … Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people.

Back when I used to write and publish children’s books, I’d often celebrate the release of a new book by doing readings and signings at diverse elementary schools throughout central North Carolina. The signing part was tedious, especially with tendonitis, but the reading part was a blast. Because the writing, illustrating, and editorial work for publishing requires tedious hours in isolation in front of a computer screen, it felt relieving to be able to engage with readers, to laugh and cheer with them at pivotal moments, and even to get interrupted constantly to hear their own stories. In my view, art is as much about participation as it is expression, which means that a book isn’t formally complete without the collaboration of story-teller and story-participant. History’s proven that. Even in ancient times, even before printing presses and parchment developments, even in the days when bards like Homer sang their stories to captive audiences as the publication, some form of signing followed.

Friend, what we have here in Exodus 24 is one of the most significant book signings in world history, and if you need a perfect example of the participatory nature of art, it’s this. With this covenant publication, God’s authorial expression becomes ratified by the audience’s reception. Even though Moses probably has lines of adoring fans in this crowd, he doesn’t sit behind a table in a green room to sign autographs for patrons. Instead, the readers are the signers. This Book is a covenant story, a drama where the Author’s script and the actor’s life intertwine as one, a book bound not by leather and twine but by the will of God and the will of those who live it out.

Sadly, so many scholars in our world today scour the Scriptures, searching up and down for God’s signature, examining the textual clues for any remnant of His autograph, and they forego the fundamental act of signing their own.