As I write I am a little bleary eyed! A few hours ago we completed our 24 hour Bible read-a-thon for Christian Aid where we read, nonstop, the whole of the New Testament and a number of Psalms. What an adventure it has been!
When we come up with these ideas we don’t always realise what it’s going to involve or how God will bless the endeavour, but blessed we have been indeed! Here are just some of those blessings…
• At the time of writing the total raised is £7330, plus £1430 Gift Aid, which, added to the proceeds of the Christian Aid Quiz, takes our grand total to over £9000. Wow!
• Over 75 different readers took part. It really was an all-aged event, including 16 readers aged under 18. Some of our readers had dyslexia and bravely faced the challenges this presents to take part. We think you were amazing!
• We had readers from WURC, as well as friends we have made online who have been watching our
services during the pandemic from other parts of the UK, France and Australia! We had some reading in French, Cantonese and Korean!
• One of our readers, Ellen, who has joined the WURC family since the start of the pandemic, saw in her 40th birthday reading at the midnight slot. Happy Birthday Ellen!
• We overcame internet connection problems and hiccups so that the reading never stopped.
• We learnt to use a new platform (instead of the trusted Zoom) called Stream Yard which enabled us to display information on the screen about what we were doing which was a great witness to all who came across us online. Well done to everyone, you certainly took this in your stride.
• Eight people took turns throughout the 24 hour period hosting the live stream and welcoming the readers, letting them know where we were up to in the Bible, updating the fundraising total and stepping in to read when the internet misbehaved! A special mention to John Sinclair who covered the night shift and still managed to look cheery in the morning!
• We had messages online from lots of people, including viewers in other countries, cheering us on, saying that they were enjoying watching and were blessed by hearing the Bible being read aloud.
• Reading the whole New Testament meant that we heard the full story of the Gospel (four times!) as well as the story of the early church whereas so often we only read snippets.
• Despite the current restrictions, we were able to do something that brought a huge number of people together for a vital cause, thanks to modern technology and time freely given by so many.
Our 24 hour marathon culminated in our morning service where we were thrilled to welcome Amanda Mukwashi, CEO of Christian Aid. Her memorable message of how we can ‘Sing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land’ will stay with us for a long time. We were challenged to keep on keeping on in the work of the kingdom to bring hope and justice to those who are suffering. She also powerfully reminded us how there is nothing that God cannot do or does not care deeply about. He is always to be praised. Let us hold us to those words of comfort and challenge and, even more than that, let us live by them.
There are many times when I feel very strongly how privileged I am to journey with and serve such a wonderful church family, and this weekend was certainly one of those times.
‘If God is for us, who can stand against us?’
To God be the glory!
One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what’s true.
One life can make the difference,
You see, It’s Up to You
Source unknown but with thanks to Joan Smyth.