By Rev. Mark Norman
General Conference Clergy Delegate
I am so thankful for my Methodist mother! Most of my life and ministry have been impacted by my mother’s teaching me about her faith. She played the piano and instilled the hymns in my public and private worship. However, the most important lesson was how important and vital the Bible is to my life. I will always remember my mother cooking the best breakfast with bacon, eggs, biscuits, and baked apples. She would spread it all out and say, “Go get my Bible.” Nestled in her Bible would be the upper room devotionals, and we would read them every day. If the meal was fancy, we read that Bible. If it was the end of the day, we would do those upper room devotions. If we had a road trip, before we got out of the driveway, we would read that devotional.
The Bible has shaped my faith in so many ways. From the foundation that was laid for me, I found the Bible as a source of spirit and life for me. In the preaching moment ( when I was preaching every Sunday), I continue to be amazed by the mystery and power that comes from those sacred pages. Those pages express a passion and directions that guide me for the rest of my life. Proclaiming the truth and empowering people to live for God is such an honor. Our calling as pastors is to declare a liberating gospel that sets people free. The Bible is saturated with the instruction, love, and grace that God pours on us every day.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 119:105-107(Message Bible):
By your words, I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I’ve committed myself, and I’ll never turn back from living by your righteous order. Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word.
My life is a constant rat race from one meeting to another, but the Bible centers me to a place that I am connected to the Triune God. I could not imagine my life without the Word of God, ordering my steps and guiding my thoughts and soul. I love my iPad. I preach from a Bible app; however, I love the stories that people have about their Bible. It may be a family Bible that has passed from one generation to the next. It may be the Bible from their very first appointment. This written work has guided and shaped lives like no other book.
To quote Mr. Wesley, “My ground is the Bible… I follow it in all things, both great and small.” (From the Journal: “June 5, 1766”)