Finding joy through fellowship

May 24 was our last day of bible study for the year. Our bible study sessions every Wednesday are not different from most college classes, so at the end of May our academic year comes to an end until we reconvene in September. I had been reminded by our group leader that, for Episcopalians, summer means vacation and that includes bible study.

Our group meets every Wednesday from 11 am to noon, followed by brown bag lunch and time for fellowship. Every Wednesday there are at least 10 of us in attendance, illness being the only excuse for anyone not to be there  Then there are two or three who have belonged in the group for as many as 60 years but are no longer able to attend because of aging constraints.

One of them is Joya, now in her 90s and her health declining. So, we met at her house for our last session. For me, it was the first time at her home on a hill with a picturesque view of the Potomac River below. What a perfect setting with nature’s breathtaking presence to remind us all of God’s majesty! For the others in the group, this is what they have done every year going back many years when Joya was still able to come to church and bible study at St. Mark’s Capitol Hill. She opens her doors to the group (and the choir too, where she sang).

The point everyone has learned is what the group means to her. And in truth, it is what it means to every individual. Many of them have been energized by the fellowship for 60 years or so. That is what we hear every time: How special the time is in everyone’s life.

There are other members in the group in their 90s. In fact on this Wednesday we celebrated Jan’s 96th birthday. Like I said, except for illness, they don’t miss one Wednesday. Lilly is no longer able to drive (obviously) so Peter picks her up and drives her back home every Wednesday. And we hear, over and over again, how grateful she is that she can still come to bible study, because it means a lot to her. And, certainly, to everyone else.

It is the fellowship, because anyone can read or study the bible at home.

It seems to me, if you hope to make it to your 90s, with your mind intact, then join a bible study group, if you haven’t already done so! I have spoken very eloquently of the last group I was in before this one. I am blessed to have found another one and it is my intention that wherever I may find myself, the first task is to find a local bible study group.

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