Good news shared with old gems, current insight
Nearly 30 people sang the hymn "I Love to Tell the Story" during the church service before the 197th meeting of the Rock Creek Bible Society on Saturday in the Bethbirei Presbyterian Church.
And it seemed clear that the Rev. Tom Smith -- a standing supply minister for Boonshill Presbyterian Church in Lincoln County and father of two Lewisburg women -- could deliver good news that morning with classic gems and current insights.
A simplistic impression of Smith's sermon might note that the word of God has been referred to as a sword. Smith also recalled a New York firefighter's observation -- a day after Osama bin Laden's death -- that "We will never forget" terrorist attacks nearly 10 years ago. Now, they are restored.
"Christ is the love and expression of the Lord," Smith said.
If so, he then asked, what is the value of the written word? It depends on your perspective. That was illustrated with a story about a man who went into an antique store where he didn't think much of the proprietor and thought he'd be able to take advantage of the situation.
In the store, the man asked the proprietor if he had any old Bibles.
"I had an old Bible in here today," replied the proprietor, who described it as having the word Gutenburg on the cover, being printed in German and had words written on it by a man named Martin Luther.
Where was it?
"Oh, I sold it," the proprietor replied, "to a man going to California for $10."
Book collectors would put a greater dollar amount on that Bible, but Smith pointed of that the value of a Bible is different when it's recognized as scripture and seen as the word.
In another story told Saturday, Smith said Muslim young men stood by and let a woman die in a fire because they said the Koran taught them that they should not touch a woman who is not their own.
Referring to the juveniles who vandalized the Bethbirei Presbyterian Church in February, Smith asked: "Would any of us say the proper punishment ... would be death?
"Are we not moved by the words ... where Jesus says you ... should love your enemy?"
Bible Society business followed Smith's sermon and thereafter the congregants sang "Onward Christian Soldiers."
Bible Society President Eddie Warren's prayer that morning included an appeal to the Lord to "help us through these difficult times... [and to] be with the troops overseas and bring them home soon."
Reports during the Bible Society meeting included an accounting of $383 collected that morning, bringing the treasury to nearly $636 after a dozen Bibles were sent to Northern and Middle Alabama for residents there who lost theirs because of tornadoes. A $300 deduction was then planed for payment to the American Bible Society, bringing the local group's account to $336.