OCTOBER 23, 1953
NEW YORK, Thursday—This week, October 19th to the 25th, is National Bible Week and the Laymen's National Committee has chosen as a fitting slogan for the year "The Bible—The key to Peace." The purpose of this Bible Week is really to start a campaign to encourage the reading and study of the Bible. It should have the effect of making all of us read our Bibles more frequently.
When we were children, most of us were told Bible stories and I can remember now some of the pictures which held my attention while the stories were being read. These stories in adult form are all in the Bible. The value of reading them in the Bible is that we accustom ourselves to the beautiful English of the Bible. Some of the men who have used in their speeches the most beautiful English attribute it to the fact that they really knew their Bibles well, so the form is important as well as the substance of what we read.
I have found through the years that reading and rereading great literature, and the Bible is certainly that, is a very rewarding occupation. For each time you reread you discover some new meaning or some new beauty that you did not realize before.
This week is just a reminder to all of us to take advantage of the greatest book we have and really use it.
I heard an amusing story the other day which illustrates how often we take too much for granted in our hearers! A teacher told her students to go and see Paul Robeson many years ago when he was playing in "Othello." The child went home and told her family she should see this play and they went. Knowing only that Paul Robeson was a Negro singer, they expected a Negro minstrel show. The teacher had forgotten to mention that Othello was written by Shakespeare and should be seen as part of the literature course which the child was taking. The family was outraged at the story and felt it should not be allowed to appear on the stage and finally decided that only Mrs. Roosevelt could have thought up such an outrageous play!
This tale amused me a great deal, for I would be happy if I could write like Shakespeare. It shows, however, how easily, without knowledge, one can bring together one's pet hates and feel satisfaction that the person disliked can be blamed for whatever else one dislikes.
The United Nations service at Christ Church Methodist here in New York City was a memorable occasion and the U.N. Prayer set to music by Russel Bennett is a really beautiful thing which I hope will not only go overseas on the Voice of America but become well known in this country.