Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gray Matter

My first recollection of memorizing scripture takes me back to a small country church outside of Waycross, Ga. Pierce Chapel Methodist was the name of this church so small the scriptural word about "two or three gathered in my name" would be descriptive of a crowd. Actually, it seated a few more, but not too many. Back then only dirt roads took you there and even then there were more headstones in the surrounding cemetery than there were people in the pews.
On Sunday night a part of the worship service involved the children quoting Bible verses in exchange for a star by your name on the chart which hung alongside the record of attendance. It was because of this holy competition that I learned the shortest verse in the Bible at age 8. It is as you know John 11:35. The NRSV which I now use makes it a bit wordy as it says, "Jesus began to weep." While four words may not seem verbose, please remember the KJV of the Bible simply reads, "Jesus wept." You cannot get any shorter than a verse with two words! Of course, these were also the days for learning things like the 23rd Psalm and John 3:16.
Memorizing scripture is not something I have been as disciplined about as I should have been. The verses I have learned over the years have usually had more to do with frequent usage than being intentional about memorization. For some reason I have recently found myself back at it again. And, yes, I have been working on some verses longer than two words. I have been surprised at the way repeating something for the purpose of memorization causes me to experience the text in a new and different way. Hearing myself say the text over and over brings to light some things I had missed only by silent reading. Interesting. But, then I am likely miles behind you on this one. I imagine some of you remember longer verses than two words when you think of your first Bible memorization efforts. Can you recall the first verse you memorized?

2 comments:

gracegirl said...

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but He who lives within me; and the life I now live, I live by faith in the One who loved me and gave Himself for me." Gal. 2:20

dawnp said...

I am not at all very good at memorizing scripture. It took me over a year to learn psalm 85:6 well enough to not have to look it up every week for 856 Rejoice!. Recently though God has given me a verse that I was able to commit to memory the first time I read it. Matt.5:30 "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off for it is better for you to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell." I found those words repeated in Mark's gospel also. For me it became words that I feel God led me to see and hear. It is very hard to have to face how I was reacting to some changes in my life that I didn't like, but because God convicted me of my sin, it meant giving up some things that I love to do. And even though at times I still struggle to be obedient to God in this, my comfort is the peace he gives me when I seek his forgiveness and grace, and accept His guidence in my life.