For the second year in a row, a couple from my church have organized a Bible reading marathon in downtown Houston. The marathon began Sunday evening, following our church wide Thanksgiving banquet and lasts until Thanksgiving morning. It is held in the plaza park in front of the Harris County Civil Courthouse in downtown Houston. Volunteers sign up to read portions of the Bible all the way through. They began with Genesis 1:1 at about 9:00 p.m. Sunday evening and will finish with Revelation 22:21 at about 7:00 a.m. Thursday morning. The reading is continuous, 24 hours a day, until the complete Bible has been read out loud.
Of course, there is much more activity during the daytime, and more people are out in the open where it can be heard, but there is activity all around the area virtually all night as well, since there is night court in the building and literally hundreds of people are going to and from the parking lot and parking spaces on the nearby streets all night. The loudspeaker system being used is adequate for anyone on the block to hear the reading of scripture.
The reading takes place just a few feet from a monument known as the Star of Hope memorial which sits in front of the courthouse. Inside is a Bible. The ACLU and several other groups have attempted to have this memorial removed over the past couple of years because it contains a copy of the Bible sealed inside a glass case. However, the rulings have been to leave it alone, since it is a memorial and not a monument to the Bible itself. When the attempts to have it removed were begun, this couple quietly sought permission to conduct the Bible reading marathon on the plaza, and were successful in getting it approved. It is, after all, a public plaza and it is free speech.
The temperature, in the mid 40’s with a breeze whipping the flags, was cold for Houston. Bundled up in hooded sweatshirts and a jacket, my wife and I took our turn reading tonight between 7:30 and 8:30. We read the first nineteen chapters of Isaiah. Yeah, we stumbled over some of the names, but half a dozen people, passing through the park, stopped to listen. When we first arrived, a Houston municipal court judge was reading the Song of Songs. He’s a volunteer from the Gideons, who are also involved.
I will go tomorrow around 1:00 a.m., yes, in the wee hours, and take another turn for about half an hour, reading from somewhere in the New Testament. May the Lord add his blessings to the reading of his word.