I have been trying to get back into the word per my mentor's suggestion for some time now. I have read the book of Ester, and doing it on my own, I just wasn't fulfilled. I have been attending church for some years now in another city. It takes me 35 min one way to get there and is not the denomination I grew up in. They don't seem to study the Word at all as far as I can tell, unless they are in a theology class. In general, I don't know that these congregates would know if Ephesians is in the front or the back of the Bible because I have never seen them use one. This has been disheartening to me as I was raised Baptist.
Baptists, we love reading the Bible. When I was little there were songs about the books of the Bible, games to see who could find scripture the fastest, stars given out for memorized verses. We sang passages in choirs, we read from it every Sunday in Sunday School and in Big Church. Everytime we turned around we needed our Bibles. I was given one by the church in third grade, it was a children's version with pictures through out. And on Christmas Eve, 1990, I was given my first adult Bible by my parents. It had no pictures and had my name engraved on the cover.
I have kept all my secrets in that Bible. I have notes I wrote to my best friend during worship services. Notes that children left me at middle school retreats in Gatlinburg. I have a rose petal from my Grandaddy's funeral. I have goals I set for myself while at Camp Crestridge as a counselor. I have passages underlined over and over in the books Paul wrote. I have verses marked with bookmarks made from Sunday School lessons that are nothing but a slip of paper with a verse on it. My Bible was useful to me constantly. And yet, somewhere in my late teens, early twenties, I slowly, but surely stopped reading, using, filling it treasures. I even found a church that didn't use the Bible...how unbelievable.
I am ready and willing today to read, use and begin filling my Bible once again. This morning's sermon was on the Love of God. Ephesians 3:19 "and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God." The pastor noted that no matter what we have done, no matter how bad the sin we think there is, that God's love surpasses every sin, every knowledge that we have as humans. I was really glad I had my Bible with me to participate in the service. Turns out, I had that passage marked...it's like seeing an old friend again. Comforting...like coming home.