Recognize that word? I certainly do. The concordance is the part at the back of the Bible where you can look up words and find verses that contain those words. Rob didn't recognize the word, but when we needed a verse last night, he knew to hand the Bible to me.
I spent years and years and years doing Bible drills, where we competed to see who could find the verse first. We would stand in rank, Bibles under our arms and someone would call out military style commands (present arms meant hold your Bible out in front of you) and a scripture reference and we'd all scramble to find the verse. I also remember once that a friend named Mark and I challenged one another to see who could read the Bible the fastest. I don't know if we actually finished. I think maybe our determination ended before the Bible did.
I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, surrounded by very good people. At least I remember them that way, like most of us remember the people from our childhood. Ultimately, as an adult, I chose a different set of beliefs than those I had as a child, but my beliefs are still heavily based on what I learned in the church, except there's less judgment after life and more being generous during life.
Anyway, last night, we were writing an Easter card to Rob's Mom and Sydney couldn't think of anything to write. Rob suggested some Easter appropriate scripture would be appreciated by his Mom and might bring a tear to her eye. And, it probably will. It probably would bring a tear to my Mom's eye, too. But, the shock of it might just as easily bring on a heart attack.
Our first obstacle was finding a Bible. Rob was the only one of us who knew where to find one. That will disappoint my Mom to no end, but it will probably please her to know that the one he did find was the one my parents sent him right after we got together (don't go there.) But, trying to figure out where to find one reminded me of a Preacher joke.
One day, the preacher stopped by to visit a family. After a nice visitation, the preacher suggested prayer and the reading of scripture. The mother agreed; "oh, yes. Jimmy, go to Mama's bedroom and get that most precious book, that most blessed book. Your Mama's favorite book." Jimmy looked confused for a second and then ran to his parent's bedroom and came back with a very satisfied look on his face and the Sears and Roebuck Catalog.
Okay, back to our story in progress, Rob handed the Bible to me with high expectations. I think he was kind of disappointed when I opened it because a) no bright light, resonating with the sound of angel song shone down upon my head and b) no lightening struck me dead. But, I'll tell you, all those years of Bible training kicked in and within 4 mintues, I had found the verse, checked it against three other references to see if any contained better wording, and was handing the Bible to Sydney so she could copy from it. All the training for those Bible drills was well ingrained.
Oddly, the Bible has been on my mind since I heard a story on NPR about the King James Version; how it came about and that it was going out of style and being replaced by new translations. Somehow, that's sad to me and I'm not real sure why. I guess I have nostalgia for the old fire and brimstone teachings and strict rules. And, while I don't refer to the King James version much in everyday life, there is still a lot of it that became a part of me (tho Leviticus clearly didn't take).
I wish I could relate the wonder of all the youth camps and Bible studies that I felt. It was a magical time in my life. But, time moved on and I began to realize that, despite the beattitudes, it was the greedy who were inheriting the earth and no one was listening to the peacemakers, and blessed are the well educated. But, also, blessed are those that see the needs of others and try to do something about it. Blessed are those that feel an obligation to help those less fortunate. And, blessed are the teachers and parents that pass those beliefs on to the next generation by example.
I'm glad that I have those strong beliefs from my childhood, and I believe that I am passing them along. I just have my own way of doing it now. Less judgment, condemnation and brimstone and more handing cash out the car window to the homeless.
Take care and have a great Way Back Wednesday. Lane