The legacy sits quietly on the bookshelf, too fragile to be of any practical use. It’s yellowed pages threaten to flutter away and must be turned carefully to find the treasures within.
A piece of paper with names and dates. It’s the birthdates of the family members who have gone before me, beginning with Mary in 1822. A note on the pages between the testaments tells me that the volume was published by the American Bible Society in 1894. Does this mean Mary was in her 70s when she wrote her name on the inside cover? And what does it say that a woman born in 1822 could read?
Later, pressed carefully into the pages of the gospel of John is a clipping from a newspaper dated 1900. It’s a poem, or maybe a song, titled, The Church of My Youth. Did Florence, born in 1883, add this to the legacy? Or was Mary still an active, reading 78-year-old remembering the church of the Victorian era?
What does it mean that the onlymarkings in the book are brackets and large X’s next to certain chapters and verses in the book of Ezekiel? Does it have anything to do with the strange bookmark that says, “Ex-pupil?”
And the flowers … or maybe clovers … pressed into the pages? Where were they from? What did they mean to the person who put them there?
All these mysteries are secondary to the greater legacy of the Bible itself, of the love of the word of God that has been passed down through the generations on both sides of my family and now rests in me.
Yet, I am keenly aware that for 340 million people on the planet, there is no such legacy. For these people, the Scriptures simply do not exist in the language they understand best.
Let me say that again. 340 million people.
340 million who have no Bible … or even a portion of a Bible … to hand down to the next generation.
This Christmas, you can give them a gift of a legacy through OneVerse while honoring those who share in your legacy of faith. For $26, you can sponsor the translation of a verse for one of seven Bibleless people groups. In return, you receive a card that you can personalize before giving it to a loved one.
The best part is that you will also receive a code that allows you to look up what verse your sponsorship has translated. When I did this for my grandmother … who is clueless about all things Internet, as you might expect from a 94-year-old … I looked up the verse and created a postcard for her to keep in her Bible.
Not the old one with the pressed flowers, odd bookmarks and newspaper clippings.
The one with her handwritten notes and underlining.
A whole new legacy waiting to be explored.