Walking our Faith: God loves duct tape – part one
Walking Our Faith
The men’s Wednesday Bible study group meets at 7 a.m. and finishes at 8, just as I arrive to my part-time job at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Breckenridge. I follow the men into to the chapel and join them in Communion before heading up to my office. More often than not, one or two Bibles will be left behind when the men head out to breakfast after Mass. The Bibles that always catch my eye are the ones that are most well-worn. I suppose the Bible may be the only book in the world that looks more beautiful the more its pages are marked with ink, its words underlined, its cover creased and its spine held together with duct tape. Which is exactly what Mick Bixler’s Bible looks like and how I came to learn about his reading habits, after he left his Bible in the parish hall one morning, and came back to retrieve it. He apologetically explained that the duct tape was to hold the cover on. I asked Mick to explain here what led him to read the Bible:
“I promised myself years ago to become a student of the Bible. My first Bible was the King James version I received upon high school graduation in 1963. To be honest it was tough for a teenager reading through the ‘these, thous and thos.’ Years later my sister-in-law gave me a New International Version or the NIV Bible.
“In the back pages of any Bible there might be a daily reading guide. These guides cover the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. Reading takes me about 15-20 minutes, and I have discovered over the years these daily readings have brought me closer to God and Jesus Christ: Their powers and miracles.
“I read the Bible in the morning before my day starts, and this is my alone time with God and Jesus. I have come to the realization that my days are not complete without daily Bible reading. I have read ahead this year, and I noticed that I am reading scripture for June 7, 2019. So today, pick up that Bible on the night stand … and get reading.” That conversation with Mick and the faithfulness of the men’s Wednesday Bible study group are my inspiration. Because reading the Bible is not that popular anymore. It’s one of those things like eating your vegetables or getting exercise each day, that we know we should do, know we’ll feel better afterward for doing it, yet which usually falls to the wayside like most of our New Year’s resolutions right around this time. And yes, I’m preaching to myself. I leave my favorite Bible open on the table next to where I sit each evening to knit. The pages open to Psalms, a gentle reminder of the beautiful words that await if I’ll pick up the book. Most of the time I read the Bible before I go to bed at night or first thing in the morning on days I don’t work. But there are days when even the open pages do not entice me to read. And I wonder why that is? Perhaps like most people, I fall into the trap of thinking there’s nothing new under the sun in those pages, which is ironically, a biblical reference. When weeks or months go by without reading the Bible, I make the excuse that it’s an old book with nothing new to offer me or anyone else in our modern society. But oh, how wrong that is. Last Sunday at my church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the second reading was from First Corinthians 12:12-30. It’s a long passage about the importance each member of the body of Christ has in the body as a whole. It’s a familiar passage and one I’ve heard several times, but it came to life last Sunday because of the person reading it. Steve Piper read it with such care and meaning that the words came alive and I felt tears forming in my eyes as I realized it spoke to something worrying me that day. I’m reading through the book of Psalms and the New Testament this year. And when I hold my Bible with its giant print and turn the delicate onion-skin pages, I discover verses that are circled and underlined, some with a star next to them if they were particularly meaningful on that day in past years. But what is remarkable is when my eyes travel over the underlined words and instead find special meaning in a new verse that speaks to me today. And I realize the Bible is a living document that is new every time we read it.
For the four weeks of February, I’m going to share my experiences and hopefully yours, about why and how we read the Bible and why it’s an essential part of our lives. If you’d like to share your experience, please email me a quote, about a paragraph in length, to firstname.lastname@example.org. INVITATION: If your church offers a Bible study group and would like it listed in the coming weeks’ columns, please send me the information so I can include it. Thank you!
Suzanne lives in Breckenridge. Her books can be found at the Next Page Books and Nosh on Main Street in Frisco.
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