In 2014 I began a pastorate at a church in San Mateo, CA. The church had two years in between their called pastors. As I began my ministry there I realized that they had not had a Bible Study for many months.
I talked to several people and they agreed to meet on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. There were four people who joined and others came along the way. One of the women who attended was Maggie. She was 78 years old and she had never been a part of a Bible study before. She had no idea what to expect, but was willing to try it.
We began to study the lessons for the upcoming Sunday. Each person read a lesson and then we all talked about what jumped out at us about the lesson and what questions we had. I frequently brought maps so we could see about where the Israelites were traveling in the wilderness or where Jesus and the disciples were headed or where the Apostle Paul was having adventures. We studied topography, ancient world customs, commandments and how God spoke to the people.
All questions were much appreciated.
Then magic happened. The people who came to Bible Study started telling the group that Sunday mornings started to come alive as never before. Reading and studying the lessons beforehand made Sunday worship a new experience for them.
Maggie repeatedly said that before being in a Bible study, “listening to scripture during worship seemed to be just words or noise”. But after Bible study she realized that she understood much more and the themes of the scripture “hit home and came alive” for her and other participants.
Maggie would hear a lesson during worship and she would smile and nod her head at me in silent communication that said, “This is the section that we talked about and learned or struggled with.” We had a woman who came on Wednesdays who had studied the Bible for years and Anne would connect lessons with other scripture readings. She was a great help.
I have attended Torah study at a synagogue for years on Tuesday nights and frequently I would contribute something that I had learned the night before.
I always have a lot of questions about biblical texts and the Bible Study appreciated that I was learning right along with them.
I learned so much as Maggie’s pastor. She taught me that it is never too late to study scripture and to celebrate every biblical gem that you find. It was a delight to see her excitement as she learned more about Jesus – her Redeemer. Thanks Maggie!!!