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We live in a nation with religious freedoms, but we don’t often think about or appreciate them. I know I’ve been guilty of taking my freedoms for granted.
My family and I get up and go to church, and we rarely, if ever, think of people in other countries who are not allowed to worship as they wish.
When my family and I moved to Washington County seven years ago from the Washington, D.C. area, we experienced an event that has changed how we view our religion, and I feel like we have learned to appreciate our freedoms more than we ever did before.
Several ministers in Washington County worked under the encouragement of a local businessman the year before we moved there. They started a local event based on a larger one the man had seen while on a school field trip with his son. He witnessed a national Bible-reading marathon, which was hosted on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
After seeing this impressive event, which featured hundreds of people taking turns to read from the Holy Bible over a 90-hour period, the businessman decided to bring a similar event to Springfield.
In Springfield, the event is the same as on the national scale. The Bible-reading marathon takes place on the porch of the Washington County Courthouse.
The readers come from volunteers throughout the community, and people sign up in advance for a 15-minute session. People from all walks of life, from local pastors to school children, business professionals, farmers and any more, participate. They sign up based on the time they are able to donate, and when they can read. Some can only read one time for 15 minutes, while others will read multiple times, and for as much as 30 minutes or even an hour.
The marathon begins each year on a Sunday afternoon, continues non-stop for 90 hours, and wraps up at noon on the first Thursday in May, which happens to be the National Day of Prayer. At that time, dozens of people from around the community gather and pray for many topics, including our government, our military, our children, families and more.
It’s an impressive event, and I’ve been blessed to be a part of it for seven years now, and I’ve had the privilege of helping organize the event in recent years. Seeing people come to the courthouse steps and read from the Bible, any version or language they choose, makes me realize just how fortunate we are to have religious freedoms in this country. Some leave with no visible signs of being spiritually moved by the experience, but others will tell you what it means to them, and that’s what makes the event grow each year, and see more local people and church groups become involved in reading the Bible.
A couple of other communities have tried to host similar Bible-reading marathons, but none have continued over any period of time to my knowledge. I would like to see something like this take place here in Campbellsville, and if anyone is interested in trying to organize a Bible-reading marathon in Taylor County for next year, please contact me. I’d be happy to share any information and experience I could and be a part of it, and I know anyone who participates will be blessed by the experience.
For more on the National Bible-Reading Marathon, visit www.dcbiblemarathon.org.