Two saints, two bibles

Pastoral Messages | October 30, 2017

Over the years, I’ve acquired a collection of bibles. Not really on purpose. And yet there must be close to 30 or so that sit on the shelves in my office. Some received as gifts, others purchased to use with preschoolers or our confirmation class. Each one unique, with their variety of translations or purposes.

But there are two bibles that sit on the corner table of my office, away from all the others. One is just larger than pocket sized with a worn, black leather cover. It has the inscription of my grandmother’s name on the inside — Martha Jane — and the date she received it from her church — June 7, 1925.

Though she died over a decade ago, I still recognize her handwriting as I skim through the frayed pages. I love to look through and note the places where verses are underlined or starred, or where certain pages were dog-eared, and wonder to myself what it was about these words that caught her attention.

The other Bible originally belonged to my great-grandmother, a gift from her parents after they immigrated to America from Norway.  It’s written entirely in Norwegian and totally incomprehensible to me. But even though I never knew the owner of this Bible, I still imagine the faith it must’ve taken to uproot their lives and find themselves in North Dakota. The very faithfulness they passed on to my grandfather who, ultimately, gifted both this Bible and his own curiosity of faith to me.

While I have plenty to choose from, I find myself sitting down to look at these two particular Bibles whenever my faith feels a bit shaky or when I need a little reminder that there’s more to life than the problems that seem overwhelming on that day. It’s the lives of saints such as these (among many others) that inspire me.

Every year we set aside one Sunday to celebrate All Saints Day. During worship this weekend, names of those who have recently died will be both read aloud and spoken silently in our hearts. We remember the ones we love and miss dearly, those whose earthly lives have ended. And we give thanks to God for the hope and promise of life everlasting.

But we don’t have to wait for one day a year to remember our connection to such saints. In fact, saints are all around us. Those people who have encouraged us in faith or loved us beyond measure. The ones — either living or now dead — who, throughout our lives, have helped us through struggles or set an example we now strive for.

Perhaps the saints are as near to you as the closest Bible. You can read of the very earliest of saints who wrestled with God, or be reminded of your own family or friends who have shaped your life and faith. Look all around you. I’m certain there’s no shortage of these formative people in your life. Today, and every day, may we give thanks for the saints who inspire us and give us hope.

Katy Warren, associate pastor

3 Comments on “Two saints, two bibles”

  • Audrey Keeney

    November 9, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks for the sharing. I too have my Grandfather’s Bible and enjoy holding it in my hands, remembering how important it was to him. His faith life had a strong influence on me as I was growing up and continues to influence me 50 years after his death.
    There are not words to express how meaningful the services at St Paul were on All Saints Day. Thank you.

  • Dixie Kutzbach

    November 7, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    So true, Pastor Katy. Reminders and examples of faith are all around us if we only stop and be still long enough to reflect on these things. Thank you for this wonderful, simple reminder.

  • Marge Irwin

    November 2, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    How true, Pastor Katy. I do give thanks, remembering the part many have played in my life through the years. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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