This is my dad’s Bible.
The cover is not patterned, as my son first thought, and it’s definitely not pretty. The leather is terribly cracked, and wrinkled, and dry – so much so that the words ‘Holy Bible’ are almost obscured.
I don’t know how long my dad owned this 1957 King James edition, or where he got it from, but I do know that he read it every day, that his hands turned the well-worn pages, that this was the most important book he ever owned.
As a Methodist local preacher, my dad preached every single Sunday, and like a faithful companion, this battered Bible accompanied him. It must have traveled for miles.
Whether lying on the front seat of his car, being carried under his arm as he walked, or riding in the panniers of his bicycle as he rode to his appointments, this book was at his side. It was, for my dad, the only text from which to preach.
As a young girl, I can remember coming downstairs early in the morning to find him sitting at the kitchen table, his head pored over this book.
This is a great text, Glenys. I just need three good points to preach on, he would say.
I don’t know how many pulpits my dad climbed, how many sermons he preached, or how many lives were changed because of his words, but I know mine was.
I found his bookmark, tucked, appropriately, in Romans 8:28, towards the end of the New Testament. My four-year old grandson, when he saw it, said, in his wonderful, innocent way,
Oh Grandma, your dad nearly got to the end of his book. You’ll have to finish it for him.
There’s nothing I can do to finish what my dad began. But I can carry it on.
I can continue what he started, what he pursued so passionately in life. I can spread the Gospel – from the pulpit, or the page. I can try to put others before myself, be in love with the splendid world God made, always look for the good in everything, and live like Jesus lives in me. Because that’s what Dad did.
I hope I’ve inherited more from my dad than his Bible.
My dad died as he had lived – quietly, and humbly. He left this world like a whisper, without any fuss, or ceremony, or great reproach.
And it’s really no wonder that the heavens literally opened as we lowered him into the grave.
They were opening to let a great man step in.