Suppose you were asked— what is the most valuable book in America? I doubt anyone without prior knowledge would say— The Book of Psalms, but that would be the correct answer. About a month ago, one of eleven extant copies of the original Bay Psalm Book produced by the Puritans in 1640 sold at auction for— wait for it $14.5 million dollars. This copy was one of two which belonged to the Old South Church in Boston, who sold it to support the mission of that church. Good for them. Here is a link to the article about this remarkable sale. http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/26/us/worlds-most-valuable-book-auction/index.html?hpt=hp_c3.
It was bought by a philanthropist named David Rubenstein, and it is one of only 11 extant copies of this book (something like 1700 copies were originally printed), which has been called ‘the first book of poetry published in America.” The Bay Psalm book was in essence the heart of the Puritan liturgy. It was their own translation of the Psalms, and not merely a re-run of the Geneva Bible version. What it shows of course is that Christian worship was at the very heart of what many of the original immigrants who came to America came here to do. This freedom of religion is what they made the arduous journey to America to obtain. As we celebrate the Christmas seasons, it is important we keep this in the forefront of our minds and hearts.