Here in Iowa, our governor Terry Branstad has taken a stand for the Word of God by issuing a proclamation that predictably has some up in arms. In part, the proclamation reads, “encourage all Iowans to join in this historical Iowa 99 County Bible Reading Marathon to take place June 30th through July 3rd, 2016, in front of all 99 courthouses and furthermore, encourage individuals and families in Iowa to read through the Bible on a daily basis each year until the Lord comes.” Here in our county, organizers set up 320 fifteen minute time slots for volunteers to read on the Court House lawn. I was there Thursday morning, shortly after the beginning, and picked up reading somewhere in Genesis chapter 40.
Volunteers from a variety of congregations picked up the torch and read day and night from Thursday morning until just a little while ago. My son, wife and I signed up for more slots this afternoon and progressed the effort from 2 Corinthians into Ephesians. I can’t help myself, I have to view something like this as a project to be calculated, scheduled, and completed. My Project Management tendencies kicked in. I calculated when we would reach the end of Revelation and my wife and I stopped back to watch the finale.
There were so many reasons to be thankful today. My wife remarked how blessed we are to live in a nation where we can read the Bible in public. There is an increasing number of places in this world where doing so risks ridicule, arrest, punishment, or even death. When our sheriff read about the righteous judgement of God, standing in front of the very Court House where he helps to uphold justice, I was thankful for him and officials like him who follow God’s righteousness as best they can. Far too often do we focus on those in authority who do not hold God’s Word as sacred.
The readers in this Bible Reading Marathon came from several different congregations in the community, and even other communities nearby. I found myself wondering how many churches were represented in the effort. Almost before this question was formulated in my head, the answer was there. One. All the reading across 8 uninterrupted hours, through 320 time slots, done by volunteers coming from a myriad of congregations and backgrounds all represent one church. On the way home I thought about John 17:20-21.
I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, [are] in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Jesus final prayer before leaving for Gethsemane was for us to be in unity. Through that unity, the world will believe Jesus is who He says He is.