HEFLIN — The word of the gospel spilled out onto Ross Street and echoed off downtown buildings Wednesday afternoon as speaker after speaker read Christian scripture during a Bible-reading marathon.
This is the third year for the outdoor event in which the entire Bible is publicly read — cover to cover — in 90 straight hours, according to organizer Brent Thompson.
Hosted by the Cleburne County Baptist Association, the reading started Sunday at 6 p.m. and will end today around noon to culminate at the National Day of Prayer observance on the steps of the Cleburne County Courthouse, said Thompson, who is also the pastor of Heflin Baptist Church.
“It’s great — we are of course ahead of schedule but whenever we get done we’ll just start over. We’ll just start with the Psalms, the Gospels and start reading again. We’ll read right up until the time of the National Day of Prayer service,” said Thompson.
Speakers had signed up to speak in 15-minute increments according to Thompson, who said it took months to fill in all of the time slots.
Thompson said the weather has been fine for the marathon so far.
“The first year, 2017, we had two major storms come through at the start and at the end, the first and last day. Last year and this year we’ve had great weather, so God has been good,” he said.
Ricky Kilgore, who works next door to Ross Park where the Bible marathon is taking place, said it brings him joy.
“God’s word is trying to be destroyed everywhere in the world today and to have precious city leaders that would allow us to do this and honor God with this reading is just spectacular to me,” said Kilgore.
Kilgore said he’s read two times during the marathon and will read again this morning. Kilgore noticed a large green lizard scurry on a brick wall next to the white tent that had been set up for the marathon.
“Even the lizard has come to hear the word of God read,” said Kilgore.
Kilgore said getting the word of God onto the street is uplifting.
“God is moving on this, and honestly ... it’s not us, it’s not about us, it’s all about him and truly the word leads us to the eternal light that we’ve got to face when we take our last breath,” Kilgore said.
Kilgore then dropped to a knee and began to pray.