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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Old Friends

Depending on your theology I became an apprentice of Christ in 1966 or 1973.  Since things begin to change in 73 we will go with that one.  One of the first things I did after trusting Christ was to drive from the Base (Craig Air Force Base) over the Edmund Pettus Bridge into downtown Selma.  I went to the Christian bookstore and bought a Bible.  It was a first edition of the New American Standard version.  It has no notes or comments in it.  The editorial comments on the content of the pages is at the top of the page.  There is no concordance, there are only side column cross references.  For the next three years I dove into that Book.  I marked all over it.  Made notes, highlighted it, wrote questions with which I was struggling on the back blank end sheets.
Bibles we have studied for a long time become rich memorials to our relationship with Christ
In 1976 the cover fell off.  A couple with whom I went to church who were attending seminary at Southwest in Ft Worth, took it and had it rebound in bonded black leather.  I got it back about nine months before I left the Air Force to move into the basement of the Nav rep in Birmingham.

Jenny and I were married in 1978 and went on staff with the Navs.  I led Bible Studies and spoke from that Bible until I finally retired it around 1985.  Galatians and Revelation were falling out, it was literally falling apart.  I went through three other thin Bibles in the years since and my daughter gave me a really nice one a couple of Christmases ago.  I have never marked in another Bible.  To this day I still know some passages by where they fall in that Book.  Last year I found a man in Shawnee, OK who rebound both Jenny’s Bible and this old friend.  The cover is new.  The edges of the pages are worn and tattered.  But the notes and highlights (some of which are washed away from the effects of the Bible getting soaked during hurricane Fred – another story) are still there.  Working through its pages during the past year, has been like getting reacquainted with an old friend after a long separation, but picking up – you may know the feeling – right where we left off.


  1. Nostalgia! I also had an old friendly Bible rebound - I think it cost about 20 times what I paid originally (and it wasn't bonded leather, either!). Without any fear of incurring a charge of "Bibleolotry" I find that my Bible is a place where I meet God. Jacob met God in Genesis 28, "Surely the Lord is in this place...." "Place" is of great importance in the Bible and in the experience of God's saints through the ages. It all started in a place, a wonderful place (Genesis 1,2).

    How like marriage our relationship with God is! There are a few places that are in a sense sacred in our marriage because of what they mean to Sharon and me. Although we don't get to go to many often, they are alive in our hearts. One place for us that we do go to frequently is the entry hall to Glen Eyrie castle here in Colorado Springs.

    That's where we met for the first time.

    We recently moved to Colorado from Memphis where we had lived in the same house for 26 years (after 10 moves in the first 12 years of our marriage). Our girls essentially grew up in that house until they left home. Our trucks were packed, a friend helping us drive and Sharon were getting settled in their seats and as I recall the engines were already running.

    But I had to go back into our house just one more time (it wasn't a really great house, but a good one, and our first). I silently walked through each empty room to the next as tears wet my eyes - and remembered just a little: the tears, the raging hormones of four teenage precious daughters, all the laughter, some fears and even the mundane everyday just trying to make it from one hour to the next. For us, the Lord was in that place - and we knew it!

    Recently wildfires ravaged the western edge of Colorado Springs and around 350 homes were totally burned including some of our friends'. We were well outside the danger zone physically. But we thought...what would we take if we had to evacuate wondering if we'd ever see our "stuff" of several lifetimes (some handed down from other generations on all sides of our families). Over 32,000 of our neighbors faced that. What would they take?

    Fortunately we know that our "stuff" here is of no real account despite the memories they may elicit. We have them in our hearts. We can still talk about them an recall the human and divine encounters.

    But for me the Bible is especially a place - a place where God has met me and done what was needed specifically in each occasion, the Spirit taking the written word and transforming marks on paper into an encounter with the Living Word appearing in my soul.

    I use lots of Bibles in several translations and a few have just "fallen apart." I also use my computer (my very least favorite, but useful). But there's one more special than all the others.... "Surely the Lord is in (that) place...!"

    1. Great stuff. Thanks for taking the time to write this.