Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clutching Their Bibles

Today is one of my favorite Sundays of the entire church year.

It was the day we gave Bibles t0 all of the Third Graders.

This year we had fourteen third graders come to receive their Bibles. Most of them also attended, with their parents, two classes designed to help them get acquainted with the Bible. They play games, learn songs to help them to memorize the books of the Bible, and spend some time looking up Bible verse with their parents.

I like that part too.

I love how they sing their Bible songs for the whole congregation. I love knowing that we have the parents secretly inscribe the Bibles with a personal message to their child. I love giving the Bibles to the parents to give to the children. I love watching the children clutch their Bibles as if they were diamonds.

This morning I had all of the Bibles on a cart with wheels, the kind we use in our kitchen. I transferred them all to a table in the chancel and was wheeling the cart back up the center aisle. One of the ushers asked, "What are you serving?"

"We're serving the Word," I answered.

I love today.

We give the CEV (Contemporary English Version). Sometimes the translation seems unfamiliar to the parents. The Golden Rule, for example, reads, "Treat others as you want to be treated." On the other hand, it is easier to understand, especially the stories.

I got my first Bible from my grandparents when I was in the third grade. We didn't get Bibles from the church until I was in confirmation. In my opinion, that's much too late. I hear some churches give "Toddler Bibles" now when children are entering Sunday School. If I had my way, my church would give the ABS/Scholastic Read and Learn Bible to all our Kindergarteners.

I heard a few parents having their children look up some familiar Psalms during our cake reception this morning. I heard a few children telling their parents what they were going to read when they got home in the afternoon. And I saw a few children who didn't want to put their Bible down, even to eat cake.

Here's a prayer for today from The Divine Hours:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant me to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that I may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Presbyterian Gal said...

What a sweet day! Very cool.

FranIAm said...

This is a post filled with hope!

I love the thought of the kids with their Bibles!

Jennifer said...

I love the secret notes from parents and that parents make the presentation to thier children.

Gannet Girl said...

How wonderful, the ways in which you involve the parents!

Pastor David said...

What a wonderful day - cling to such moments. I think CEV is great for that age range. When I arrived here, we were giving confirmation students the CEV, which I thought was a little too simplified for them (which I is why I switched to the message). We are still giving NRSV to 3rd graders, and I would like to change that in the next few years.

I smile to hear about days like yours - thanks.

Rev SS said...

How Cool! kids and parents really involved, not just going thru motions! What a blessings.

My idea of perfect scenario would be similar meaningful services for giving toddlers first bible, 3rd graders this version, confirmation a good age appropriate study bible, and hs grads The Message.

Anonymous said...

I just love the kids in Church, they bring a smile to everyone's face. I loved receiving my BCP enscribed by our bishop and rector. It will always be special to me. Nice memory.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I love that they didn't want to put the Bible down to eat cake. What a sweet image.

Anonymous said...


Barbara B. said...

that's great!

Anonymous said...

Well, that didn't work. Let me try again.

I remember when my kids each received their first Bible from the church. They were also in third grade. I love this tradition and I'm glad so many of our churches put emphasis on handing the children their own copy of the Bible.

Crimson Rambler said...

What a happiness!