The Great Experiment

I was visiting my home congregation over the holidays and was scheduled to lead the adult Bible class and preach the sermon. Since we were traveling I didn't bring a Bible with me. I planned to use a Bible from the church for the things I was going to read.

Before the Bible class I popped into the room that served as the church library to scan what translations were in stock. As I scanned the shelves I saw this old, maroon, beaten up, Gideon's New Testament. The cover is pictured here.

I'm not sure what drew me to this old New Testament. I think it was simply its age. I took it down from the shelf and opened it.

On the inside cover I saw the name of the previous owner. In very faded pen marks I read that this New Testament had belonged to Miss Gloria. My heart leaped.

Miss Gloria was my very first Sunday School teacher. Or, at the very least, the very first Sunday School teacher of my memory.

Standing there, looking at Miss Gloria's signature and holding her Bible, the memories came flooding back.

Miss Gloria, African American, light skinned with curly hair. I remembered her horn-rimmed glasses and red lipstick.

But most of all I remembered her heart. A cherub of kindness and grace. We all loved her.

There was something spiritually profound about holding Miss Gloria's Bible. I felt the tether of faith connecting us--all the saints in that small church--from generation to generation.

I flipped through the pages, noting where Miss Gloria had underlined verses in a red ink pen. And then I found a note she had left for herself on the page facing the first chapter of Matthew.

I slowly read the words Miss Gloria had written to guide her Bible study, and her life in Christ:
Read expectantly! God reveals!

The life with God = the Great Experiment, full of surprises and the greatest joys!
I just stood there, marveling.

People often ask me, why are you a Christian? Why do you love the Bible so much? Why haven't you given up on church?

One of the answers to those questions is very simple.

Miss Gloria was once my Sunday School teacher.

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