Thursday, June 11, 2015

"Would you turn with me in your Bibles..."

There are so many things about my childhood church that I am forever grateful for.  I am very grateful that my parents took us to church and that it was not a negotiation but an expectation.  There are many things I remember about those years that formed me, and the words, "Turn with me in your Bibles..." is one of them.  I grew up hearing those words on a regular basis in Sunday School, Sunday worship services, and Bible studies.  I would hear the rustling of pages all around me.  I realize that Bibles are now on iPads and eReaders, but taking my Bible with me is something I enjoy.  I always loved (and still love) having my Bible with me, ready to open and follow along.    

As a little girl my church had the offering envelopes that had boxes to check on the front.  Some would consider those "legalistic" today, probably because we are so sensitive to being held accountable.  I remember filling out my envelope every Sunday when I would put my offering inside.  There was a phrase with a box that read, "Bible read daily".  I remember the guilt I would feel when I would want to check that box but could not because I had not actually read it "daily".  Maybe that was a wrong type of guilt.  Maybe I was feeling guilty because someone might see that the box was not checked.  Maybe I was feeling guilty because I had not read my Bible every day.  I think partly it was the accountability that was out there for anyone to see.  There were times when I read almost every day and was good about doing my quiet times that week, but could not honestly say I'd done it "daily" and therefore could not check the box.  Though I hated that box, I still remember it and it brings back a different kind of conviction to me now.  I am thankful for those little white offering envelopes and the accountability that it instilled in me to want to be consistent.  I may miss a day, and in all honesty I should feel guilty.  I have plenty of time for other "more important" things.  So whatever one may think about those little envelopes, they do serve a purpose and I choose to be thankful for them.

Bringing my Bible to church is a practice that it is important to me.  Over the years churches have tried to meet people's needs and especially the needs of those who didn't grow up "churched."  People may not own a Bible (highly doubtful).  For all good intentions many churches purchased pew Bibles.  The church I grew up in had them also.  They were available to anyone who did not have the Word with them so that they could take part in the service and read along with the pastor when the scriptures were being read or preached.  Our Sunday School quarterlies provide the scripture for us so that we don't have to go look it up.  The Word is being made available in many ways in the church today.  This is a wonderful offering, and yet it can also hinder people from bringing their own Bible to church.  Some may not think it is necessary.  "One less thing to carry."  I have on occasion used my Bible app at church.  I love having all the translations easily accessible.  But...I miss when I don't have my actual Bible in my hands. 

I recently heard a sermon online and the first words out of the pastor's lips were, "Would you turn with me in your Bibles to...."  I was shaken because it has been a long time since I've heard those words.  Those eight words touched a place inside me that has been thirsty.  
Maybe it was a thirst for yesterday.  Maybe it was a thirst for change.  Maybe it was a thirst for spiritual growth.  Wherever the thirst comes from (and it is probably all three) I plan to drink to quench the dryness.  I do long for yesterday more than I want to admit.  The world and our churches are moving in directions unfamiliar to me.  Some good.  Some not.  I am not afraid of change...just don't change the Gospel.  We need to stop looking for people to quote.  Quote God's Word.  Scripture should be our FIRST source for Truth.  Christians need to be studying God's Word.  I am reminded of the song, Ancient Words.  




Holy words long preserved 

for our walk in this world, 
They resound with God's own heart 

Holy words long preserved
for our walk in this world,
They resound with God's own heart
Oh, let the Ancient words impart.


Words of Life, words of Hope

Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e'er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.



CHORUS:

Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.



Holy words of our Faith

Handed down to this age.
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.


Holy words long preserved

For our walk in this world.

They resound with God's own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart.

We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart 

So why don't we go get our Bibles and "turn with me."  Turn to Truth.  Turn to Christ.  Turn to God's precious Word.  


Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
112 
Psalm 119:111