Pause for Thought with Ray Dadswell: Reading in the rain

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A blustery, damp day and a couple of dozen brave souls stood in the rain to read their Bibles to town centre shoppers in Eastbourne.

Why? Surely they had better things to do on a Saturday.

Peter Deaves, who helped co-ordinate the event, explained.

“Members of local churches met together to raise awareness for Christians in the S.E. Asian country of Burma (Myanmar). Their task was to read the New Testament out loud for twelve hours in 30-minute chunks. People donated money to guess how far the participants would get, starting from the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew.”

This year being the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, some readers chose that version, while others used a more up-to-date translation.

Roger Barnett, for example, explained that he read from the recently-produced New King James edition, which has removed some of the old-fashioned language but has retained the lovely poetry of the original. Roger covered three early chapters of Mark’s Gospel, holding a large umbrella at the same time!

“I enjoyed the opportunity of reading in an open space”, he said. “The adverse weather meant that there were only a few passers-by. Some did linger for about five minutes. I returned later in the day, using a short questionnaire and was amazed to find how many people thought Jesus Christ

was pure fiction and never lived.”

So, what was the outcome?

The last of the group, at eight o’clock in the evening, reached chapter eight of the apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. And everyone was happy with that.

Perhaps, on a future occasion, these good folks will work their way through to the Book of Revelation, which has so much prophecy relating to the present day.

Peter and his wife Claire provided more information about the organisation Burma Link and its mission.

• BLATANT human rights abuses need bringing to light

• LEARNING opportunities: funding theological and other studies

• INDIVIDUALS joining together to grow the church in Burma

• NOT turning a blind eye – let’s take action

• KNOWING that our small change can make a big difference

The other weekend, then, raised a few hundred pounds for a number of well-established projects, including sustainable agricultural development and an orphanage.

A highly-commendable venture, without a doubt, as well as the public reading of Scripture.

How do we conclude?

Through the prophet Isaiah, God says to his people, all people: “As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose

for which I sent it” (55, 10-11).

Appropriate!