Every Sunday, she’d ask. “How many daily Bible readers did we have today?” The person who kept the Sunday School record would respond. I waited, scanning the encircled group of class members for expressions as she responded.
“This is the one we thing you all should do…how else will you know how to live?”
For a very long time I rejected her advice, her exhortation felt too much like demand.
Puffed up and independent minded, I reminded myself that I would not concede to pressure. I would not be made to feel inadequate or a sinner by not following one person’s ideas or rules.
My grandma, “Bama” had varicose veins. Big, thick purple bulges held down by thick rubber-like pantyhose that went up above her knees.
She wanted to go to church; but, felt unwelcome. She had to wear slacks, sharp little pantsuits.
She stopped attending church after a bit.
Stopped after judgemental glances from other women dressed in pastel colored dresses with hummingbird pins on their scarves, matching purse in one hand, tightly clenched smiles and fingers wrapped around their Bibles.
Bama, dressed in crisp pantsuit, sharp and fashionable, yet scorned.
I wear pants to church most Sundays, it’s okay, feels right to me.
Not for Bama though, back then.
The preacher, continued on admonishing errant ways of ladies in pants and other behaviors that most likely would lead to burning in hell.
I never understood why wearing pants was wrong back then. My grandmother must have been hurt. She never let it show.
I don’t recall her ever complaining. She just stayed home.
A preacher’s daughter unwelcome in the church
Yet, she always had her Bible, her little Gideon New Testament in her purse and King James version beside her bed.
I remember her nightly ritual.
I’ve seen my name in the margins of her Bible.
I cherish the image of dimly lit bedroom, me sometimes there beside her, pretending to sleep, under thick quilts.
Sleeping with Bama on Friday nights, careful not to brush against her legs.
Quiet, sweet, calm nights with Bama.
Lying next to her, before sleep Bible reading.
Obedience to God, not people.
I’m a daily Bible reader now. It’s not an obedient-like requirement or a response to curtail retribution or chastisement.
It’s not an avoidance of punishment or hardship; rather, for me an act of expectant submission.
Anticipation of revelation and comfort.
God, revealing new things, His words exhorting me to continue or comforting me in my missteps, misfortune.
I know that to know God is to read His word.
Know that choosing to live with God’s word in my heart and mind is the most certain way to see clearly my life as God designed.
So, I cherish my Bible. I cherish my mornings, marking in the margins of my Bible, like Bama.
Morning by morning he awakens; He awakens my ear to hear.
Isaiah 50: 4