Monday, February 7, 2011
At the Bottom
Today I led worship and preached ten miles up the road at the Rocky Ford UMC. As I anticipated this morning I knew I would need my Bible and my Hymnal. Both were still packed in moving boxes. While I have had a Bible available for reading, it is not the one I had been using as a preaching companion for some years now. So, Saturday afternoon I started my search. I went through all the boxes and found neither of the sought after books. I started telling myself they were gone, lost and never to be found. A second search was more thorough and more fruitful. I found both my pulpit Bible and my Hymnal side by side at the bottom of one of the boxes. Being at the bottom meant that they were the first ones packed which spoke a quiet word about their importance to me.
The two books have been worship companions for at least the last seven years. The Hymnal was given to me as a parting gift by the staff at the Perry Church. The Bible was bought as a replacement for one so worn out, it would fall apart if carried into the pulpit. While the Hymnal has pages that have been doused by baptismal water, the Bible bears its markings as well. Most of those marking are notes, underlinings, arrows, and brackets. When my memory fails about the chapter and verse of a certain Word, I often am able to find it by remembering its location on the page and the markings which lift it up.
Over the years of preaching, I have always had a Bible that was used exclusively for preaching. Picking it up reminded me that something important was before me. Picking it up reminded me that the task was to speak in such a way that the written Word became the spoken Word. It was good to put my Bible and my Hymnal to good use this morning. I pray that I was as well.