I am excited. Tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at 7 am, we begin reading the Bible out loud, and will continue to do so for fourteen hours a day over a ten day period. Our congregation is co-hosting along with two other churches in the Valley, while many congregations and Christian groups are participating in the readings from the Word. With the Proclamation event culminating on Palm Sunday evening in an interchurch worship service, I pray that not only will the whole of the Bible have been read aloud with passion and faith, but that, true to His Word, it shall go forth into this world and not return to the Lord empty (Isaiah 55:11).
I’ve been praying and thinking a lot about this Proclamation event over the past weeks. Far beyond dealing with the logistics of such an event, what has been mostly on my heart is awareness of how powerful and sufficient God’s Word truly is. I think of Paul’s complaint to the Lord concerning “his thorn in the flesh” and his plea to have it removed. The Lord’s gracious and wise refusal came with the promise that his grace would be sufficient for his servant.
God’s Word in scripture is truly sufficient for all our need concerning salvation and the hope and grace that is ours in Jesus Christ. In the words of scripture, we behold the face, presence, truth and character of Jesus, the Living Word of God to whom scripture witnesses so reliably and faithfully. All we ever need to know about the heart and purpose of God towards us, his children, is revealed in Jesus who is made known to us in scripture. All of God’s commands for our well-being and all that holy wisdom which is given for our joy is communicated through this amazing, wondrous book we call the Bible. All we would need to know of God’s truth, Kingdom and love shines through the pages of scripture. It truly is more than sufficient for us to be manna and drink and hope and blessing. This beautiful book and the words of grace and truth within is such a gift from the Lord, and it will be delight upon delight to read and proclaim, hear and feast upon that holy Word.
Yet here is the question: whether we be those reading the scriptures over the ten days of Proclamation or whether we be listeners in the pews, will we let the Spirit of God so work within us that we will not merely speak out some words or listen to a human person drone on? Will we, as the apostle James put it, not merely listen to the Word but actually do what it says? Will we, like the ancient Israelites listening to the prophets in their own day, find ourselves stricken to the core with God’s judging, saving Word? Will we, like the crowds who hung unto the words of the preacher from Galilee, marvel at the authority and promise being directed to our lives? Will we, like good soil in Jesus’ parable, allow the Word to take root in us and yield a harvest of blessing and good works?
The old prayer asked that we might “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” God’s Word to our lives. May it be so in these days of Proclamation. May it be so in these hearts of ours!