The longest day at Teddington Baptist

When I first started planning our Biblefresh programme during the Summer of 2010, one of the highlights was intended to be the Bible Reading Marathon on June 21st 2011, the longest day of the year. The planning is just about over now, and at 7.30 tomorrow morning a gazebo will go up facing the pavement outside the church, appropriately decorated with biblefresh bunting, and the event will begin at 8am. Over the course of the next 720 minutes (12 hours):

  • 40 readers
  • Aged from under 20 to over 80
  • Will read 48 readings
  • From 143 different Bible chapters
Joining in with the day will be a Wycliffe Bible Translator from Russia, the CEO of an international charity and the delegates from a media conference in Durham (via skype). People have been practising their readings at home, checking the pronunciation of awkward words, and using the kitchen timer to check that they can fit it all into their 15-minute slot. Others who cannot attend in person will join in from their place of work or at home.
I have no doubt at all that this will be good for the readers. The courage necessary to read from the Bible in a public space is no small thing. Not only that, but the time taken to rehearse the readings can only be a  good thing too. My hope is that it will be good for those who listen as well. Some will sit down in the gazebo to have a listen, others will slow their pace a little to listen as they walk by. Maybe, in the providence of God, they will hear a particularly appropriate verse or passage as they do so. There was some discussion early on about whether we should amplify the readings  – but we have deliberately not done so. For a start, we don’t want to annoy our neighbours – but also we would rather draw people in through fascination than stop them in their tracks through amplification.
I have occasionally heard Isaiah’s promise that God’s word “will not return to him void” used in an almost magical sense, as if the mere sound of the Bible casts a benevolent spell over our environment. That may not be a helpful understanding. However, when God’s people take a deep breath, summon their courage, and read out His Word in public -it is reasonable to assume that good things will follow.
Watch this space, and follow #biblemarathon on Twitter to see what happens.