Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday Night Bible Study

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Late. Again. Molly pulled into the church parking lot. Tuesday night was not the best night for a Bible study. It hadn’t been too bad when it was at Marianne’s house. The seven o’clock start time meant the study itself wouldn’t start until half past seven. Marianne always had a nice dessert and a fresh pot of coffee. Sometimes the women didn’t even get to the Bible study.

Fellowship is as important. There was the time Joyce’s son was going to Afghanistan. Joyce needed time to talk through her fears. And when Molly’s mother was sick with cancer, the Tuesday Night Women’s Bible Study group had rallied around her more than once as she faced agonizing decisions.

Everything was different now. Now the group met at the church. Deanna Brown was leading it and said it would encourage other women to join them. Cliquish. That was the word she used. “We don’t want to appear cliquish.”

Judy parked her car next to Molly. “Glad to see I’m not the only late one.”

“I know, Judy. I can’t seem to get here on time with work and all. And it’s so dark. I can’t wait for spring.”

“Me, too. The truth is, Molly, I almost didn’t come. It’s changed.”

“I know exactly what you mean.”

The Bible study had changed. Before, if they had time, they usually watched a video or shared the responses they had recorded in their workbook. If nobody had done the workbook, they filled it in as Marianne or one of the others read from the instructor’s manual. Now they were expected to read through the Bible in a year.

“Not everyone will be at the same place,” Deanna told them. “Everyone will read what they can in the week or use one of the reading plans and just write down what God is revealing through the scripture. We’ll share those insights each Tuesday.”

Judy beeped the lock on her car as the two women headed toward the fellowship hall. “I kind of liked it when we watched the videos. That was easier because there was someone to explain it to you. I read some of this Old Testament stuff and I don’t get it. I mean it’s history and all, but what does that have to do with us now?”

Molly sighed. “I know. I feel like everyone else has something clever to say and I just sit there. One good thing though. I think if you just skip over the names you can’t pronounce anyway, you get through the reading in half the time.” Both women chuckled.

The group had already started. Molly and Judy found seats near the back of the third row of chairs Deanna had arranged in a semicircle.

“Welcome ladies,” Deanna said, smiling. “We were just talking about Noah. Go on, Kate.”

Good. Didn’t miss much. Molly had heard the story of Noah’s ark since she was an infant in this very church.

“I was just saying how I started grumbling about all these people listed and their weird names,” Kate said. “I was kind of relieved to get to the story of Noah and then it hit me. Maybe because I’m a grandma now, but well, I did the math and Noah could have sat at his grandfather’s feet. You know how it says Enoch walked with God? And Methuselah was his son, Noah’s grandpa. I mean, I know people make their own decisions, but what a heritage!”

“That’s funny, Kate, because I’m using the reading plan where you read a little Old Testament and a little New Testament every day and I had almost those same thoughts.”

Molly looked around to see who was talking. Oh, Ellen. Well, she was okay, even if her daughter did have a child out of wedlock. At least Ellen tried to do what was right.

“I was slugging my way through the first chapter of Matthew and reading the genealogy of Jesus,” Ellen continued. “ I thought at first, what a waste of time, but then it hit me about how there is a heritage of faith that can be powerful. I started thinking about my daughter and granddaughter. What do I do to pass on that love for the Lord?”

Should of thought about that a bit earlier, Ellen dear.

The discussion continued but Molly’s mind wandered. At least Ellen’s daughter came to church once in a while. Laney and Rob didn’t darken the doors except on rare occasions like Easter or Christmas. Okay, sometimes Mother’s Day, to be fair. What would Hunter and Ellie think about church? Molly’s grandchildren were bright and beautiful. They were at the perfect age to learn about God and Jesus. Should she and Travis bring them to church without their parents?

 “Anyone else?” Deanna looked around the room. Molly thought about saying something, but since she hadn’t listened to what had already transpired, she might make a fool of herself. “Okay, then. Do we have any prayer requests?” Deanna stepped up to the dry erase board at the front of the room. She wrote the prayer requests as they came.

That was another thing that had changed. It seemed when they had the Bible study at Marianne’s house, they didn’t pray as long. Once they started writing these down, everyone had a request and anyone could pray. Molly shot up her own prayer. Please God, don’t let these go on and on.

“So how was your Bible study?” Travis asked.

“Fine. Same old stuff.” But it hadn’t been exactly the same. Molly thought about the legacy she and Travis would leave their daughters Laney and Lissa. All the way home she had thought about Hunter and Ellie. What would they say about the faith their grandparents claimed to endorse?

Molly made a cup of hot cocoa. “Travis, are you reading through the Bible in your Tuesday Morning Men’s Prayer Breakfast?”

“Well, we’re all working on reading through the Bible this year like Pastor Haynes wants us to, but we don’t study it or anything like you do on Tuesday nights.”

“I’m having a hard time keeping up.”

Travis leaned and kissed his wife on the cheek. “Hang in there.”

Easy for him to say. Wasn’t the women’s Bible study group supposed to be fun? She had better things to do with her time. Molly finished her cocoa and retreated to the bedroom. Her workday with its meetings and reports would come soon enough.

By Sunday morning, Molly had decided to drop the women’s gathering from her list of activities. It would be nice, even relaxing, to spend the evening at home. Travis worked hard to shovel the soft white blanket of snow that had fallen so he and Molly could make it to church on time. Once there, he gallantly dropped her off at the main entrance so she wouldn’t have to walk across the slippery parking lot.

“Molly! Just the person I wanted to see.”

Molly turned away from the coat rack to see Deanna Brown coming her way. She liked Deanna. Should she tell her now about her decision not to come to Bible study? Maybe she should make up an excuse. Maybe she shouldn’t say anything yet. When she didn’t show up for a couple of weeks, Deanna was likely to call. Still, two weeks would give her time to think of what to say.

“Good morning, Deanna. What do you think of this snow?”

“Beautiful, isn’t it? If you and Travis do retire to Florida you’ll miss all of this,” Deanna said with a chuckle. “Listen, Shirley’s birthday is Tuesday. She’ll be eighty-seven. I thought maybe we could all bring cards for her to the Bible study and I was wondering if you might bake a dozen muffins. If two or three of us do that, it will be more festive. She doesn’t have any family left, you know.”

“I’d be happy to,” Molly heard herself say.

Molly opened the Bible on her lap as she waited for Travis to join her the worship service to begin. Okay, God. One more week.

This is the fourth and final story in this series. I hope you have enjoyed getting to know the family a bit better. Be sure to share this link on Facebook, Twitter, or by email to your friends. Let me know you did it and you may win a $5 gift card to either Target or Starbucks. Be sure to tell me via email how you shared the link. The winner for last week is Nancy Cox Hallo! Thanks, Nancy for sharing.

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