Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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B.Y.O.B Sunday — that’s Bring Your Own Bible

byobintroIf you stacked all the Bibles sitting in American homes, the tower would rise 29 million feet — nearly 5,500 miles high! Like televisions, most homes today have multiple Bibles. But for the most part they are sitting untouched on shelves. According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, half of Christians cannot name the four Gospels and a third cannot identify Genesis as the first book of the Bible.With each passing generation, research indicates that fewer people read the Bible or know what it says. This sobering truth applies to people both outside and inside the church walls; and from my perspective this is particularly true within the Moravian Church of North America.

This is why Palmyra Moravian Church held its second B.Y.O.B Sunday in September. That’s right — you read that correctly! This special Sunday morning was B.Y.O.B — Bring Your Own Bible! B.Y.O.B Sunday is an attempt to lift up the importance of the Bible in an intentional way within our congregation.

I put together a Bible Rededication Liturgy for the day — and for the Prayer of Confession we humbly declared: Lord, we know we do not read the Bible, your word, as much as we should. We open up magazines and books on the bestsellers list instead of opening up the Good Book. Our Bibles sit stagnantly when they should be in our hands. Forgive us for our lack of devotion to reading and studying your holy words. By your grace and the empowerment of your Holy Spirit, help me to reach for my Bible, open it, read it, be intrigued and challenged by it, be comforted by it, and ultimately be blessed by it. Amen.

During the worship we gave a time for people to fill out an anonymous Bible Survey that included questions like, “How often do you read your Bible?” and “What keeps you from reading the Bible more?” The results were helpful for our congregational Elders and me in understanding the level of interaction our congregation has with the Bible outside of Sunday morning.

After the sermon everyone prayerfully filled out the “B.Y.O.B Commitment Card.” Each person was able to commit to one or more of the following:

  • Get a personal Bible that I can begin     reading.
  • Put my Bible in a location where I will be more likely to see it and pick it up!
  • Read my Bible more than I do now with the intention of reading it:
  •         Once a month
  •         Once a week
  •         Once a day
  • Join the Adult Bible Study Group on Sunday mornings.

To conclude our wonderful morning we held up our Bibles for our responsive benediction. The physical act of lifting up our Bibles paralleled our desire to have the Bible lifted up in our homes and our hearts.

B.Y.O.B. Sunday is definitely one of my favorite worship services here at Palmyra. Holding a B.Y.O.B Sunday each year is a simple and effective way to remind ourselves as Christians that we are called to be people of the Book. It is my belief (and I believe good Moravian theology) that the more we open up the Bible the closer we will be drawn to the Word — Jesus!

Maybe your church could begin to hold a B.Y.O.B or other Bible-related Sunday (we are very willing to share resources). What other creative ways can your church elevate the importance of the Bible? On a congregational level and a personal level, let us continue to open up and lift up the Bible again and again. What a worthy task for Moravians in the day in which we live!

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The Rev. Andy Kilps is pastor of Palmyra Moravian Church in Cinnaminson, N.J. You can reach Andy atpalmyramoravian@verizon.net 

 

From the March 2012 Moravian Magazine

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Moravian Daily Texts

10/24/2017

Tuesday, October 24 — Psalm 119:65–72
Ezekiel 28:11–29:12; 1 Peter 1:1–12

Be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating. Isaiah 65:18

Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, King of the nations! Revelation 15:3

Dear Lord, we recognize your creative power in our lives. We wait with eager hope to see your power. Thank you for not only bringing us to this very hour, but bringing us through it in victory, too. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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