How did you learn about the Bible?
How did you learn the stories of the Bible? From Sunday School? From your parents? From worship?
As for me, I remember going to church every Sunday, where the readings were printed on the back of the bulletin.
I was fascinated by this, and even got the connection once in awhile that sometimes one week’s readings followed exactly the readings from the week before.
It made me think that if I cut and pasted the bulletin readings for long enough, I might be able to make my own Bible! How cool would that be!
But really, what I remember most about learning the Bible stories is how my dad sat down with us at the end of the day, and,
right before prayer time, would read a little story from a book called, “The Bible in pictures for Little Eyes”
When I was in college I came across a copy of this book, and I had to buy it, because it brought back so many memories.
It was such a simple book.
Just one small picture of a Bible story, a few words, and 2 or three questions.
You didn’t even have to know how to read. You could look at the pictures and answer the questions.
Even better, it was time we got to spend with our dad.
How did you learn about the Bible?
How are your children and grandchildren learning those stories?
Last week we learned the first step in the Faith5, Sharing highs and lows.
We learned that it is so important to cement relationships of trust, in families, among friends, and in the church.
So we start by sharing the small and big things of our day,
the good things and the hard things, and we trust that God is in all of it –- that God is in our highs and in our lows, with us always.
This week’s step is “Read”.
The next thing we do together is to read the word of God
We learn Bible stories and Bible verses that will help us know who God is for us and who we are.
And every day of our lives, we need those reminders – when we’re children – and after we grow up.
Do any of you have a Bible verse or a Bible story that is very important to you, that is comforting or challenging or helps you when you are having hard times?
(Several people Answered with verses that were meaningful in their lives.)
Why is this verse or story important to you?
One of my favorite Bible stories is the one about Peter walking on water – and that tells me that sometimes I have to take a risk – get out of the boat.
– have an adventure – but it also tells me about the God who – when I fail – when I am drowning – will grab my hand – and lift me out of the deep waters.
And you know what? I need to hear that message.
We need to have scripture passages in our heads and hearts because of who we are and because of the world we live in.
The world has a lot of goodness and beauty in it, but a lot of danger and evil too.
There are pitfalls and temptations for our children – and for us, as well.
There are so many messages – words and pictures – that glorify violence,
that tell us that we must meet an impossible standard of beauty to be loved, and that we’re only valuable if we’re wealthy or successful or popular.
Children (and adults) see advertising that makes them dislike their bodies, and feel ashamed of them, because they are not perfect.
So knowing scripture – is so critical – and being immersed in the message of God love and forgiveness as much as possible…. This is our true identity. That’s part of what the text from Hebrews is about – the word of God is
a two-edged sword, that holds us accountable to God – and convicts the heart both about what is wrong – in us and in the world – and about God’s love for us in the middle of everything.
It’s true, though, that not every part of the Bible is equally easy to understand.
There are some stories that are clear, and others that we can spend our lives studying and never totally figure out.
And it’s okay to start with the basics – the story of God’s creation – the life of Jesus, and his death and resurrection, Abraham and Jacob and Moses (the prince of Egypt!).
It’s good to read with others – your family, your friends, for example – because in sharing – we witness to one another about our faith, encourage each other when we doubt – and learn more together than we would alone.
…. But that’s for next week.
Sharing scripture together with your family will ground your children in their faith and will give them a different imagination – about who they are, who God is
– and what it means to be God’s person in the world.
They might be inspired by God’s word to organized against hunger, to pray for their friends, or their enemies, to stand up against bullies..
But you know, knowing scripture is not just for our children.
And it’s not just for childhood. It is for our whole lives, and it benefits all ages.
I still remember when my dad first went to the nursing home. It was temporary at first, complications from his Parkinsons, and memory loss.
I used to visit him.
Sometimes he was pretty positive and other times he was confused and depressed.
One time he was going back and forth, trying to convince himself…. “Worrying never did any good”, he said.
But then suddenly he started saying, “The wages of sin is death.” I tried to reason with him.
I tried to change the subject.
I sang – because sometimes singing worked.
But he just kept repeating, again and again, “The wages of sin is death….”
I know that was true, but it was only half of the truth.
He seemed depressed and that he was judging himself. “The wages of sin is death.”
Suddenly I remembered something.
“But dad, I said, “the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” He smiled.
Don’t we all want our children and our grandchildren to know that the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord? Don’t we want to know it ourselves? To have confidence, to know and to remind each other of the best, most truthful things in life?
Tell them. Share them. Because when we share scripture with our children, we are learning it again for ourselves.