678 congregants present in 11am worship
108 pieces of wrapping paper
62 family members for breakfast
27 third graders
8 helpers on Sunday
4 trash bags
2 able assistant organizers
1 master organizer
All of that adds up to a longstanding tradition in the United Methodist Church of 3rd grade Bible presentation Sunday. Organizing the event starts weeks beforehand and culminates in the presentation of the Bibles to our 3rd graders and a commitment by church members:
We praise and thank God for our Bible. As your church family, we have the privilege and responsibility to support you as you learn and grow. We pray that you will become wiser, more loving, and more active Christians as you use your Bible, our gift to you.
As in all ceremonies, the real work begins now that the students have their Bibles. As most 3rd graders are graduating from reading a storybook Bible to a real Bible, parents, Sunday School teachers, and mentors begin the real work of helping the third graders dig into God’s word.
As the congregation watched the students peel back each layer of paper—brown because the Bible is old, gold because the Bible is precious, comics because the Bible tells God’s story, and white because the Bible is inspired—perhaps you were inspired to remember your first Bible or your favorite Bible. Maybe like mine, yours was white with your name embossed on the front cover. Or was it a small red Gideon Bible presented at school? Whatever form that Bible took, remember that Bible and remember our commitment to make disciples who read the Bible as they learn and grow.