Every year on May 1st, in Portsmouth, Ohio, you will find a small table set up in the rotunda of our beautiful courthouse with local volunteers doing something many people would consider quite unremarkable…reading the Bible out loud.
Why do we do it? One reason only. Because we still CAN!!
It isn’t at all impressive. It isn’t even particularly evangelistic. It’s just one person, reading the Bible into a microphone for one-half hour while people with court business walk past, then that person hands the Bible off to the next person and the next. This goes on all day. Quietly. Seamlessly. No fanfare.
My reading started at Mark, chapter 13. I read through the betrayal by Judas, the scourging of Christ, the horrific crucifixion, the doubt of the believers, and then the amazing resurrection. I stumbled over some of the King James words–a translation I rarely read–but I read aloud the Word of God for a half-hour and then handed off to my friend, Steve Williams, who then handed off to our friend, JoAnn Miller, who handed it off to my husband.
Funny thing. Even written in the archaic words of King James English, in an echoing rotunda, in an age where we are practically entertained to death—the Word of God still has the power to move me to tears.
It is a very big deal to have the freedom to read the Bible out loud in a public building. People have died for that right. In a quiet way, that half-hour felt downright victorious.