The study of Daniel resumed yesterday in chapter 7 after a week off for Holy Week. The teaching director suggested we wear colorful scarfs that had "some story, background or significance" for us. Before the break, I stashed the only scarf I own in my study book bag so I wouldn't forget. It's a virtual rainbow of shades so no matter what blouse I thought to put on, it would match perfectly. I dressed without even thinking about coordinating the colors and put on the scarf only when I arrived at the regular meeting place, a Baptist church in Allenwood.
Naturally, some women forgot scarves, even the teaching director who ended up borrowing one! A few minutes were permitted for sharing about our scarves in pairs and I teamed up with a lady seated ahead of me. She was not wearing a scarf so she talked about herself in an introductory way, where she lives, how she came to the Bible study, etc. Before I could tell the story of my scarf, two other women who had been unpaired in their respective quadrants of the room joined us and began talking, out of apparent nervousness. One lady, impressively, knit her scarf only the night before. She called knitting her "ministry," making prayer shawls and baby blankets. The other lady, who did not have a scarf, talked about herself, how many years she's attended this particular Bible study.
It seemed the conversation at last fell to me and I commenced telling the story of my scarf: On a trip to Israel, many sites had dress codes for women, requiring long-sleeved shirts and modest skirts or pants. One site, a Greek Orthodox church near Jacob's Well in Shechem recommended head coverings. Since I had my scarf, I complied. I finished the brief story and received absolutely no reaction from the three women listening. I've no idea why.
Our core group leader was absent, so the teaching director filled in. That made the other ladies in our small group nervous. The seat next to Betsy was open, so I took it. We reviewed the homework questions and recited the "memory verse," which is really a "copy verse" that we write out. It was a very long passage, Daniel 7:13-14, and the workbook didn't allow enough space. But I liked the couplet very much, so over the course of the week, I got better and better about writing small enough to fit the passage in the space. Nobody else in the group took the trouble to write out the passage each day last week, so as we read aloud the passage before beginning that day's questions, ladies were flipping back to the previous page or reading out of their Bible because the words weren't available in front of them. They were probably thinking, "Of all the weeks I don't bother to write out the verse, the teaching director has to be leading our small group!"
Chapter 7 was split up into five sections, one for each weekday. The teaching director called for volunteers to read the section before we answered the questions pertaining to that section. I like to read. I think everyone likes to read. The third time she asked for a volunteer, I simply began reading. I don't see any reason to say, "I'll read" or to ask "May I read?" Just start reading, right? Well, another lady thought it was her turn, so as I'm reading Daniel 7:15ff, I hear her saying, "Oh, I'll do ... mumble ..." Sorry, I'm already doing it! She took the next turn.
And I read from the Collegeville Commentary that I bring along, the old commentaries with the (old) New American Bible text. I need to compare old New and new New because my reading in the Anchor Bible Commentary volume on Daniel gave me the impression that the NAB made emendations galore. Heaven only knows how well what I read matched with what's in their respective Bibles (ESV, NIV, NKJV)!
It is time to register for next year. Already. They'll do Deuteronomy and Hebrews. Strangely, I did not receive a registration form in email over the break. I told Kim and she sent me one yesterday afternoon. It is identical to last year's form, so I could have just changed some dates and re-printed it out. I hope I get a better small group leader next year, but you know what, there may not be any available.