I don’t remember much about our teacher.
But I remember the room where our Third Grade Sunday School class met.
If you entered the Aspinwall Presbyterian Church from Third Street, our classroom was on the second floor, halfway down the hallway on the right. Our chairs were set up in rows facing the black board and bulletin board which were on the wall in the front of the classroom. On the bulletin board was a piece of oaktag laid out in grids. Our names on the left side. Sunday dates across the top.
In our Third Grade Sunday school class we were encouraged to memorize Bible verses. If you memorized a verse and could recite it in front of the class you got a star after your name for that Sunday. Memorizing verses was pretty easy for me and so I had several stars after my name. That was not the case for my friend who had a harder time memorizing and so had less stars.
Each Sunday, the class began with the teacher asking if any of us had verses we recite. On this particular Sunday, my friend’s hand was the first one up. He took his place in front of the class and began.
We waited for a second expecting something more, but that was it.
My friend smiled and got a star after his name for that Sunday.
I am sure we were encouraged to memorize all those verses you might expect.
Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd…
Psalm 100 – Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth…
John 3: 16 – For God so loved the world he gave is only son…
I didn’t appreciate the impact and importance of memorizing those verses until much later in my life. By that time, other verses had locked themselves into my memory…
Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Love God and your neighbor as yourself.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.
God has told you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require? To seek justice. To love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.
Whatever you do to one of the least of these, you do it to me.
Verses which have become a touchstone for my life.
Somewhere along the way all these verses and others have buried themselves in my heart, soul and mind. Often forgotten, until that moment when one of them pushes its way to the surface of my awareness. Often unbidden. Sometimes at just the right moment.
In the congregation I served as Pastor, each spring we would have a special class for Third Graders in preparation for receiving Bibles from the congregation. A couple of weeks before they received their Bibles in worship, the Bibles were laid out on tables in our Fellowship Hall. Members were encouraged to write their favorite Bible verse in the Bibles the children would receive. Which leads to this…
If you had to write one verse in a child’s Bible, what verse would you choose?
If you would like to see and listen to the video, here it is.