The Tuesday morning Bible study group at church has for years been ably led by Pastor Hy, an amazing 91 year old who has finally decided to slow down a bit. Hy is beloved by the small, close-knit group of ladies who attend the Bible study every week. Everyone was sad when she gave up leadership of our little band of students; everyone wondered what (who) would come next.
When no one stepped forward, I raised my hand, which is something I've done all my life. Jesus says something about cutting off offending hands in his Sermon on the Mount. He meant it symbolically of course, but I always think of my treacherous hand, ever raised skyward, offering to do what I emphatically do NOT want to do. And why do I always put myself in these positions?
I think it's because I feel so badly for the asker. I put myself in his or her shoes, desperate for someone (anyone) to help, resigned to being stuck heading up the bake sale committee forever. Years ago, I worked up the courage to face the Christ's Lutheran Young Mother's Circle and resign my leadership role after a multi-year run. I made my case for departure, then waited for a positive response from somebody (anybody). I finally burst into tears and STILL no one said they would take over. The group actually disbanded at that point rather than come up with another Head Circle Honcho.
At any rate, I am now running the Bible study show. We are looking at the Gospel of Matthew, and as we do I am reminded that I was born Catholic, and Catholics NEVER read the Bible. Our only copy of Sacred Scripture at home was Mom and Dad's wedding Bible, in which my sisters and I colored with crayons. Leave it to Father So-and-So to interpret for me, I figured. After all, he was making the big bucks!
My learning curve has been as steep as Mt. Everest. I teach Confirmation. I lead the first grade Bible workshop. In recent years I have been writing devotions, skits and plays for various religious publishers, all grounded in the Word of the Lord. With every assignment, I discover something new. Catholics are taught that Jesus was an only child, but apparently he had siblings! I kinda figured Noah’s Ark and the Garden of Eden were not literally true, but it’s been a revelation (get it?) to read Bible scholars and get some historical background, when these stories may have been first told, and what they were meant to convey.
While I don’t reach for it when I am seeking some light reading before bed, my Bible is looking a little tattered these days, a sign that it is in frequent use. And while I have NO desire to become a minister, I intend to keep plugging along, learning more and more about my faith—even if I am destined to stay just one step ahead of my students.