Pop's Old Bible
Pastor Sam Guido
April 23, 2017
I never knew the man. But I heard all about him for years. From what I heard, I really would have loved him. And I've been told he would have loved me. The man who would have been my Father-in- Law today passed away in 1978.
But what a character he must have been. I heard of all the zany antics he and his sons and sons-in -law had. I heard of the love he had for his daughters and grandchildren. I heard about the sense of humor he had. And I heard countless stories of his adventures with his grandchildren, especially Sherry, when they made their trips to NYC or to the mall.
And I understand the love he had for his wife, Myrtle, my Mother-in- law and the love she had for him, as she told me his stories before she too passed away and I officiated her funeral 15 years ago.
I still see the love people have in their hearts for him as they recall his memory some 39 years after his passing. I see their smiles and their laughter, and I see the hurt they still have knowing he's been physically gone for so long, yet still very much alive in their hearts.
No, I never met the man. But today I too feel as though I know him and met him.
Over the years, as family gathered around the table especially at Holiday time, I have often heard of 'Pop's Bible'. 'Pop', as they called him was the son of a preacher, and no matter what crazy things he and his compadres in crime pulled off, I understand he was a man of deep faith. I heard he read his Bible every evening before he went to bed. He had such respect for God's Word that he kept his beloved Bible in pristine condition. Yet he read it every night, and more so as he got closer to the end of his days. He would go alone into his room, as sun set, his artificial leg propped against the wall, and he would sit in his chair and just read that bible.
After his passing that old Bible seemed to disappear. No one was sure whatever happened to it.
Last week my sister-in-law, Shirley, (Sandy's sister) was going through some old boxes as she was moving, and came across 'Pop's old Bible'. She thought I would like it and asked if I would want it. I was honored.
A bible, nearly 100 years old, leather bound, fraying and deteriorating from 30 plus years of storage, the cover was dried and cracked. It was smelling musty and looking frail.
At first glance, it didn't look like much, the pages were yellowed yet pristine, and well worn but the print was perfect, and there was not a torn page in the entire book. It was obviously well used and even more obviously handled with care, and also perfectly broken in. The only writing in it was on the dedication page, when he received it, and a note on the date he died.
It was a book that deserved a little TLC. So I took some leather cleaner to the cover, and gently, over a few hours, I slowly removed a century of dirt and grime from that cover. Then with a bit of leather conditioner rubbed in over the course of a few days, and that once wrinkly, crackled, brittle Bible seemed to come back to life. Renewed, resurrected, if you will.
The cleaned and softened leather, along with the perfectly worn in pages wrapped around my hands like the warm embrace of an old friend, or perhaps like the embrace of an old man I never met before, shaking my hand and telling me 'He approves’.
I used that bible at worship services this morning and as I preached from it, there was a special warmth I felt, both from that bible in my hand and from the eyes of my wife, as today she saw the first worship service that bible was ever used in from the pulpit…
...her Pop's old bible.