By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist
You may think that sharing Jesus is difficult, but Justin Abercrombie said he’s found a contender. “It may be just as hard to read the Song of Solomon on the court square,” he wrote on Facebook on May 1.
Abercrombie, pastor of Center Ridge Baptist Church, Ariton, joined hundreds of others around the state who took turns reading the Bible aloud in its entirety in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer.
During the Bible reading marathons, volunteers gathered at a public venue and read around the clock in 15-minute increments for about 90 hours total.
Abercrombie read at the Dale County Courthouse during Ozark’s Bible reading marathon, which started April 29 and ended May 3, the National Day of Prayer. Events in Troy and Heflin followed the same schedule, and marathons in Birmingham, Montgomery, Oneonta and Tuscaloosa started on the day of prayer and ended May 6.
Brent Thompson, pastor of Heflin Baptist Church in Cleburne Baptist Association, said for him, the event is a way for the church to “turn inside out.”
“We just believe there’s power in the Word of God. Our city and county needs to hear it, and we found that during the evening hours people would pull up a chair and listen,” he said.
Volunteers kept coolers of water, pots of coffee and cookies and brownies for anyone who might wander by, and they were able to have a lot of great conversations, Thompson said.
At one point, they even heard that a bank robbery was happening on the other side of town, and volunteers at the Bible reading site immediately gathered to pray for the situation.
“Nobody was hurt and the people were captured,” Thompson said. “We felt God had answered our prayers.”
It was Heflin’s second year to participate in the Bible reading marathon, and Thompson said he hopes more and more cities will start their own in the years to come.
“It’s a blessing to see the Lord at work through this,” he said. “I hope that it sparks other cities to see a movement of God.”
Sheila Wright, a member of Liberty Park Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills, said they definitely saw that where they were. The Birmingham marathon — in its eighth year — was “probably the best one we’ve had,” she said.
Members of Liberty Park Baptist teamed this year with 45th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham’s East Lake community to host the marathon at East 59 Vintage and Café, which shares a courtyard with 45th Street Baptist.
“We were so grateful to partner together to do that,” Wright said.
The Bible reading marathon there closed with someone blowing the shofar and a choir from True Vine Ministries in Tarrant singing four songs.
“It was such a blessing — their singing made it such a special, special time,” she said.
Wright said she loves how the Bible reading marathon brings believers from all denominations together.
“We can do that (read the Bible) with no commentary,” she said. “We’re all uniting for one purpose — to honor and glorify God.” (Maggie Walsh contributed)
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