The South is a land of stories, and I grew up listening to hunting, fishing, and “did you hear about” tales told by some wonderful storytellers. However, when I think about stories from my childhood, I go back to my Sunday School, Vacation Bible school, and Sunbeam (Yes, I’m that old!) days when I was told Bible stories by some truly gifted women.
Mrs. Bobbie Jean Watson and Mrs. Polly Hutchinson could keep a class of restless kids spellbound with their words. When they told a Bible story, you were right there along with Paul and Silas in jail. You felt like you were that man on the road who was robbed, beaten, and later helped by the Good Samaritan. And when Mrs. Bobbie Jean told our class the story of Jesus dying on the cross, it changed my life because that was when I first thought about how much love it took to make sure that “whosoever believeth in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.”
When Mrs, Bobbie Jean and Mrs. Polly told Bible stories, their words painted vivid pictures, and these were words were not from the Baptist Sunday School Board( that’s what Lifeway used to be called Itold you I was old). They really weren’t even reading from the Bible. Remember in those days, it was all King James which is beautiful but hard for kids to understand and attend to for a long time. So they did what all great storytellers do, they studied the text and then told those stories with words that came straight from the heart in a way that even a child could understand and remember many years later.
And now, I’ve moved from the little baby bear chairs where I was the listener to the front of the room where I am the teacher. And I never tell a story from the Bible to a group of children without asking God to make me just a little like these ladies whose words brought the Bible to life for me. I love to tell the story today because grownups in my church used their time and their gifts to tell the story to me and that story still changes me today.
I love to tell the story,
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and His love.