Saturday, June 07, 2014

Bible Study has Begun

This past Wednesday morning I stopped in the 8 AM bible study group, and we laughed -- several times. The previous three Wednesdays that group forewent its usual early start to take part in the larger study of Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott. During that study we laughed often. When I was at St. Paul's UC in Bowmanville I conducted a Wednesday morning lectionary-based study for ten years and we laughed just about every week. The moral of this story? Study on Wednesdays and humour will ensue? Not really. It's just that I saw an apparently old saying recently: "no more laughter, no more fun, Bible Study has begun" and thought, "how sad!" It then occurred to me that faith study is really so much better with some humour involved.

Through the years I have been impressed by the spiritual depth and honesty of study group participants, from teens to nonagenarians. So many have been wise Christians and I always feel that I learn, even as I am the teacher. The St. Paul's group was unique in that several members were part of the group through an entire decade, although at least two went back more than thirty years. Because of what we shared we literally cried together in our losses, including the deaths of members or their loved ones. Somehow, though, laughter kept bubbling to the surface and we had fun together. Only a year into my ministry at Bridge St. UC the majority of study participants have decided that resistance is futile and made their peace with my warped sense of humour. The joy and fun of being together is as important as some of the reflective conversation. I have to think that Jesus and his disciples yucked it up a bit, even as they were trying to figure our their teacher's upside-down view of God and the world.

Have you been part of study groups? Has there been an element of fun, and laughter? Are those elements important?


Frank said...

I've had the privilege of participating in the Bridge Street bible study group for the better part of the last 20 years. Because of those who have been involved laughter and humour have always been a feature.
We, too, have navigated loss, including just recently one of our main agents of humour, Art.
Even when things go south for a bit in the congregation, these groups can provide an anchor to keep us rooted in the community of faith and nourishing us with gifts of fellowship and care.

Laura said...

Agreed, Frank...and david leads a fine bible study!

St Paul's Wed AM gang continues to support each other and laugh together and learn together (and eat together:potluck lunch this week)and as you headed to Belleville I initiated contact with your successor and described this gang as the "salt of the earth" and she has reminded me on several occassions that I described them perfectly. Their resiliance, and strength, and depth amaze me each week. What a blessing our bible buddies are!