Our Temporary Eternal Flame

Many churches feature an “eternal flame” at the front of their sanctuaries, a continually-burning candle that signifies the presence of Christ. Our church, being nondenominational and fairly young, does not have such a candle. This week, however, we did have an eternal flame.

When Prairie Bible Church first moved into its building, the congregation read through the Bible cover to cover in the space that later became my husband’s office. I am sitting in this office now, listening as a friend of mine reads the first chapters of John in the adjoining sanctuary.

Five years ago, Prairie Bible Church was born in a barn. Even its origins were Christlike! For the last two weeks, we have celebrated this anniversary by reading through the Bible as a congregation. The days have been divided into half-hour shifts, with different congregants reading continuously. A few minutes ago, I read the ending of the Gospel of Luke. Last week, I pronounced the curses and blessings from Deuteronomy.

It has been a wonderful week to stop by the church. At any given moment, the Word of God can be heard—spoken in the slow, deliberate tones, melodic inflections, soft murmurs, and passionate declarations. Is there anything more wonderful than to hear the Word of the Lord proclaimed by a multitude of ceaseless voices?

I wish that we could continue this project throughout the year. It testifies to the heart of our church—to know, cherish, and share the Bible—and reading aloud together accomplishes much that silent, solitary reading cannot.

For the past two weeks, this steady speaking of scripture has been our eternal flame, signifying that the Lord is present and working in us according to His Word.

This “flame” may be temporary, but I pray that our church’s zeal for the Word will be eternal.

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