Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Way

it was the Living Bible. illustrated.
it was paperback, and had tons of photos.
a paraphrase,
it was a smooth read.
probably the 70's version of The Message.

mine was tattered, and I underlined and highlighted passages, because I read it A. Lot.
I went to bible studies and luther league, and we would furiously underline the words we were learning about...I would add exclamation points (!!!!!)  and smiley faces, and little prayers like "help me remember this".

this was my favorite passage, from Ephesians 3:

17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; 18-19 and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.

it's still a favorite passage, albeit I now change the language to be gender neutral.

we went to bible camp every summer. and we took our bibles.  this was when I was in 6-7-8 grade. 

high school kids were our counselors, and it was a good time.  lots of laughing, pranking, worship with guitars and guest pastors, stuff like that.  the big thing was the bonfire on the last night, where we would sit around and sing songs like "Pass It On" and a very slow rendition of "Kum Ba Yah". 

the last day, 

we would get people to sign our bibles.  (kind of like signing yearbooks, as I think about it now.)
except we would share bible verses in our notes,
or prayers, 
or write things like "God's light shines through you"
and those blessings
were as holy writ
as the paraphrase of Ephesians 3:17, 
those friend blessings
carried me through 
the ups and downs and craziness
of adolescence...

I have carried that bible with me from college to my first job to my second job to seminary to my first parish, second call, third call...fourth call....for 39 years.

this summer, 

I had a fit of downsizing
my library....
and I gave that bible away, in a moment of non-attachment. 
to the object.

but I am still attached by my heart,

to the blessings and prayers,
smiley faces and exclamation points,
markers of the faith of my youth,
tiny seedlings with fragile roots
that grew deep
deep down
into the soil of God's love. 
and I still really don't understand it
and it's true you can't really fully know it, 
but still,
you have moments
of being filled up with God...
rooted firmly,
ready to fly. 


  1. i like that "rooted firmly, ready to fly"... apt description of ministry in general... one call to another... and yet life too... rooted here, yet when the time comes ready to fly. reminds me of that old gospel tune "i'll fly away"... yep.

  2. Love this. I have a battered, tattered, multi-inscribed, many-stickered aged NIV given to me in the very early 80's. We have been on many journeys together, as evidenced by words written by others and by me in the margins. It travelled with me from Australia to Scotland, and while I use an entirely different version of the bible these days, this old falling-apart friend sits as a silent witness to a variety of relationships - with God, with friends, and perhaps even with myself.
    Great post - thanks!

  3. Living memories, keeping love alive in you.

  4. Hello, friend! I have my great-grandfather's bible -- not "written in" but exceptionally tattered -- apparently he used it in his principal avocation ~~ which was teaching other people, adults, to read... that gives me great comfort!