Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old. – Lamentations 5:21 (NRSV)
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So just how did I come to where I am in regard to Holy Scripture? Curiously, it was through my exposure to Friends. All along the way, there have been those who gently questioned and prodded. In Indiana, there was Norris Wentworth’s observation that many of the redeeming values of Western civilization arise from Judeo-Christian witness expressed in the Bible. A billboard in Iowa, “Jesus died for your sins,” made me ponder the long-lasting weight these concepts hold in the lives of believers. There was a ninety-nine-year-old Wilburite cousin (a relationship I didn’t know then), zeroing her eyes in on me as she asked what I thought of the Bible. There was Myrtle Bailey, a recorded minister in Winona Meeting in Ohio, gifted in quoting the right Bible verse to express each occasion. And Ed Kirk’s speaking in worship at Middleton, spending a dozen minutes or more on references to lambs and the blood of the Lamb, a message that nearly sent me running from the meetinghouse, yet I didn’t.
All of it nurturing ongoing relationship and discovery. At times, even rediscovery.
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This is he, that hath laid down his Life for us, and took it up again, for saith he, I have Power so to do. And by the same Power that raised his own Body out of the Grave, doth and will he raise up the Souls and Bodies of Believers to glorify his great Name. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)