Pick My Brain: Praying with an Heirloom this Christmas

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Our home is fully stocked and decorated with family heirlooms and antiques.  A German Bible with hand-carved wooden type from the mid-1700’s is tucked away in a special box.   A woven scarf, a primitive iron, a wooden bowl from Russia, all over 140 years old are behind glass. My grandparents wedding clock from 1900 adorns our dining room.  My mother’s hymnal and my father’s catechism book rest in a bookcase.   Yes, these family objects are precious, but even more valuable is what they represent: a heritage of Christian faith and convictions, dating back several centuries.  A courageous people who left their homeland (many times) in order to find a safe sanctuary where they could practice their Anabaptist Christian faith without restrictions.  A family that maneuvered their way through the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, with it’s challenges of unexpected deaths, multiple wars, the depression, development of media, and a myriad of cultural pressures.  Now here I am in the 21st century, grateful for the centuries of prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, singing, all ways in which their faith was formed intentionally and unintentionally.  This year I thank God for the life of my dear mother, age 95, who passed away last spring, a woman of quiet strength and Christian faith.  I am also grateful for our new gurgling grandson (just two months old!) and his unfolding journey to discover the vast love of God.

This Christmas, as a prayer practice, I will hold on my lap the very old, very precious, very brittle Bible that was handed down to me.  I may not be able to read the German, but I will tenderly and carefully embrace the heavy book.  I will offer prayers of thanksgiving for the faithful who have walked this earthly road before me. I will utter prayers with a grateful heart for those who are my current companions.  I will express my hope and joy that with each new life, there is possibility, endless possibility that more lives, more generations, more families will be touched by the Love sent to earth.

I am happy that the WDC Resource Library has a wonderful selection of books on prayer, including this one, from which I got the idea, Praying with an Heirloom.  Prayer Practices for Terrifically Busy People by Daniel P. Schrock.  Simply search “Creative Prayer” on our on-line catalog at www.mennowdc.org  and you will find over 30 books for all ages.

P.S.  Use Google Chrome to access the on-line library catalog to avoid error messages.