When my father passed away in November 2007, my Mum encouraged all of us kids, there’s eight of us, to take Dad’s Bible home with us and spend some time perusing it. Not because any of us kids did not own our own Bibles, because we did, but rather to see for ourselves Dad’s use of his Bible.
I’d taken Mum’s encouragement and spent some time with Dad’s Bible the week after he died, but I recently asked Mum if I could borrow it again and did so. When I got home with it, I paged through it side by side with the Bible my folks had given me back in 1984, and while I noted similarities in the marginalia within Dad’s Bible and mine, Dad’s Bible seemed to me as a more authoritative, and well used, volume of study.
Dad’s Bible, a thirty-fifth anniversary gift lovingly inscribed to him by Mum with these words, Presented To: “My loving and faithful husband,” displays flashes of color; highlighter pink, yellow and green, ballpoint blue and black; and also contains a few particularly important to my Dad other writings, along with a card which states his name, Jerry (actual name is Gerard) means “Mighty Warrior,” though I’ve found that many name meaning sites state that the name Jerry means “One who rules with a spear,” though I’m certain my Dad would prefer the Hebrew meaning of Jerry, “May Jehovah exalt,” as I never saw my Dad with a spear in his hand, a paddle, well that’s a different story.
Many of the passages, or verses, highlighted by my Dad deal with contending with adversity in life, something he was quite too familiar with, health wise, and just as many highlighted passages and verses deal with God’s faithfulness to individuals of faith, messages which my Dad did not preach, but rather lived, which is best illustrated by the one and only biblical passage which Dad highlighted with a blue ballpoint star, yellow highlighter, and decisively underlined a portion of. Psalm 16, with the following verses receiving the aforementioned decisive underlining.
5 O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.
While it was somewhat of a melancholy and humbling exercise taking my Dad’s Bible in my hands once again, the beauty and example of Dad’s life evidenced within those pages exceeded the magnificance of the Book of Kells. Would that I had my Dad’s unfailing faith in the message contained in those two verses from Psalm 16.
John, I pondered those two verses from Psalm 16 most all afternoon and evening after worship this morning.
The “cup” is most certainly a Eucharistic reference to the Blood of Christ in His Death and Communion for our forgiveness, the inheritance of one in Christ by faith, the pleasant places being the realization that as in the Eucharist we have a foretaste of the feast to come, so also, the Lord “maintaining my lot” is the clear understanding that one has progressed beyond merely this world to understanding that the faithful have a foot planted both here, and in the Kingdom to come at the same time (re: Augustine, City of God).
And also, that beyond the inheritance of life in this life, there is a second inheritance in the future that must follow, as the Prodigal realized when, after wasting his inheritance, he came to understand there was a new and better inheritance, that of total absolution from his father.
I suspect, from all you say of him, your Dad caught all of that, and has caused you yet again to think not only of Him, but your Heavenly Father as well.
Just a hunch, mind you . . .Posted by jb on 02/06 at 03:48 AM
JB, what you note, undoubtedly my Dad grasped and took comfort in, but I know for certain that my Dad cherished that psalm and those particular verses for their temporal truths.Posted by John Venlet on 02/06 at 08:43 AM
Lovely, John.Posted by Erin O'Brien on 02/07 at 06:00 AM
Thanks, Erin.Posted by John Venlet on 02/07 at 09:45 AM
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