My family has been reading the Bible together for the last five weeks. You can read about what prompted me to start it, and how the first couple of weeks went. We’ve had three more meetings, and I’m thankful to say that there’s more good news. Just like a stubborn, rogue acorn, our Bible study is taking root. Here’s how.
September 18: On Sunday afternoon, I reminded everyone about our 9:00 PM meeting, and sent a link to the lectionary readings. At nine, I called Nia, my college senior, so she could join us. My husband David volunteered to select the reading, and he chose 1 Timothy 2:1-7. I asked him why he selected that passage, and he said he thought there would be a lot to talk about, more so than the other readings. What I loved most about that is that I would have never chosen the Timothy reading. Adding that question of “why” is something we’ll continue to do, as it gives us insight into our individual thought processes.
David read Timothy’s words about praying for everyone, including those in power, so that we can all live peaceably. Wow, what a timely reading! We talked about praying for our enemies the same way we pray for our loved ones. We went six minutes past our fifteen-minute minimum. The girls were noticeably, albeit mildly, impressed with their dad.
Now, about my 16-year-old, Kaia. We call Kaia the Wild Card. You just don’t know what you ‘re going to get, particularly when she’d already made her position clear about Bible study. She sat in a rocking chair, hand to forehead, looking down, visibly annoyed. At the end, she said: “I still don’t like it.” “That’s ok,” I assured her. “You were here, that’s what matters.”
September 25: Nia joined us by phone again, and volunteered to choose the reading – 1 Timothy 6:6-19. Like father, like daughter. I admitted that I often find the Epistle the most difficult of the scriptures to interpret, and that I was thankful that she and David were challenging us to explore these scriptures.
Nia read Timothy’s warning about focusing too much on material wealth. This was the basis of much of our conversation – just what kind of wealth should we aspire to have? Jaiya mentioned being rich with talent. She’s a dancer. Nia talked about being rich in relationships – friends, naturally; but she also talked about being rich in family relationships, and how happy she was that our family is as close as we are. David wants to be rich with words, as he always feels that he doesn’t express himself as well as he’d like. He’s a financial mangager.
Kaia lay on the couch this time, not too distressed, but not saying much. She did nod in agreement, sometimes. I could tell she was listening, and wanted to say something, but she just couldn’t let herself. That’s okay, I thought. I can be patient.
October 2: Last Sunday was my and David’s anniversary, and we had been away for a friends’ wedding. The atmosphere when we got home was ebullient. I could tell we would have a different Bible study. We read Lamentations 3:19-26, which I had written about for Daily Devo.
Jaiya read the scripture, and the conversation began. This time, we analyzed the text like you would deconstruct a poem, and looked up wormwood, and gall in the dictionary. We talked about the love of God that is new every day. Recently, David bought a magnet that says “Each day is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.” Wow, what a connection! We talked about the soul claiming the Lord as its portion, and what portion could mean. We talked about how we can be better at quietly waiting.
Great news: Kaia participated. I had to draw her out, but she did comment and agree with much of what was said. No sulking, no eye rolling, no complaining. She had a quiet, respectful presence. I tried to appear nonplussed as to not give her any idea that I noticed a change. That’s very important for Kaia, and many teens. Give them the space to come to things in their own time and in their own way, and don’t shame them when they do finally come around.
What’s the future look like for our McKenney Family Bible Study? I have no idea; I’m one out of five. But are some thoughts as to where we can go from here:
- Keep meeting for :15 each Sunday at 9:00PM.
- If the conversation goes past :15, let it go. If folks get restless, close with prayer; but don’t end too soon.
- Take turns selecting the readings. We learn so much about each other.
- Take turns facilitating the discussion. We have a couple of standard questions to get the conversation started, but once it starts, the facilitator lets the conversation go where the group takes it. Facilitating takes time to learn, so be patient with each other.
- End with extemporaneous prayer. I ask if anyone would like to close with a prayer. Sometimes we end up saying “Thank you, God. Amen.”
- Assign roles before the meeting. Perhaps the facilitator chooses the reading and says a prayer, or maybe a different person prays before and after Bible study. We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way.
Peace and blessings to all of you following our journey, and trying your own adventure into the Bible with your family.
What can you do to grow your family’s relationship with the Bible?