Archive for the ‘April 4’ Category

Feast of Sidney Lovett (April 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Marquand Chapel, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 2011

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-19266

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AUGUSTUS SIDNEY LOVETT (JANUARY 30, 1890-APRIL 3, 1979)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Chaplain of Yale University

(Augustus) Sidney Lovett, otherwise known as “Uncle Sid,” comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume VI (1956), for which he wrote the exposition on Amos.

Most of Lovett’s life revolved around God and Yale University.  Our saint, born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 30, 1890, broke with family tradition.  He attended Yale, not Harvard.  Lovett, after graduating in 1913, matriculated at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York, from  which he graduated in 1917.  Lovett, pastor of Maverick Congregational Church, East Boston, Massachusetts (1917-1919), transferred to Mount Vernon Congregational Church (now federated with Old South Church, Boston), Boston (1919-1932).  He took a year off (1927-1928) to study at Oxford University.

Lovett was the second University Chaplain at Yale, serving from 1932 to 1958.  When our saint became the chaplain Yale University offered just one course in religion on the undergraduate level.  He reinvigorated the course (which had only three students when he started), increased the number of undergraduate religion courses, and grew the enrollment in undergraduate religion courses to three hundred in 1954.  Lovett also supported the establishment of a counseling program for Jewish students in 1933.  This program grew into the Yale University branch of Hillel.  Furthermore, Lovett helped to found the National Association of College and University Chaplains in 1948.

Lovett remained active after leaving the chaplaincy of Yale University.  In 1959 he became the Executive Vice President of the Yale-in-China program.  He spent a year in Hong Kong, where he served as the representative at New Asia College.  In retirement, in New Haven, our saint was active in the Yale Alumni Fund, the New Haven United Fund, and the New Haven Council on Equal Opportunity.  He also continued to participate in religious life in New Haven and Yale University.

Lovett, aged 89 years, died in New Haven on April 3, 1979.  His wife, Esther Parker (1887-1980), whom he wed in 1922, survived him.  So did their two children.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 5, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF JAPAN, 1597-1639

THE FEAST OF SAINT AVITUS OF VIENNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JAMES NICHOLAS JOUBERT AND MARIE ELIZABETH LANGE, FOUNDERS OF THE OBLATE SISTERS OF PROVIDENCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT JANE (JOAN) OF VALOIS, COFOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF THE ANNUNCIATION

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILEAS AND PHILOROUMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC WRITERS, 304

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Augustus Sidney Lovett and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Alfred C. Marble, Jr. (April 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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ALFRED CLARK “CHIP” MARBLE, JR. (APRIL 4, 1936-MARCH 30, 2017)

Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi then Assisting Bishop of North Carolina

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If ever there was a saint who understood that the work of reconciliation is the work of evangelism, it was Chip Marble.

–Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple, Diocese of North Carolina

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The Episcopal Church has a rule of waiting for about half a century before adding someone to its calendar of saints.  The denomination also makes exceptions to that rule, but it does let a considerable amount of time pass, even in those cases (Jonathan Myrick Daniels and Martin Luther King, Jr., mainly).  I understand why such rules exist for denominational calendars of saints.  This, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is a hobby, however.  I am ready, willing, and able to engage in nearly instantaneous canonization.

Alfred Clark “Chip” Marble, Jr., for whom civil rights and economic justice were essential elements of faith, became an Episcopal priest.  He, born in Oreonta, New York, on April 4, 1936, studied at the University of Mississippi, The School of Theology of the The University of the South, and the University of Edinburgh.  Our saint, ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons in 1967 then to the priesthood the following year, served in five congregations in the Diocese of Mississippi, as well as at the student chaplaincy at the University of Mississippi.  Marble also spent eight years as the Assistant to the Bishop of East Carolina, B. Sidney Sanders (in office 1983-1996).

Marble joined the ranks of bishops in 1991.  He served under Bishop Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr. (1926-2016), as the Bishop Coadjutor of Mississippi from 1991 to 1993.  Then Marble succeeded Gray as the Bishop of Mississippi, serving for about a decade (1993-2003).  Our saint, after retiring, served as the Assisting Bishop of North Carolina from 2005 to 2013.  He served under Michael Curry, then the Bishop of North Carolina, and currently the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Throughout his ministry Marble worked for justice for the poor as well as for racial reconciliation.  As the struggle for civil rights expanded to include legal equality (per the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America) for homosexuals, Marble opposed discrimination against them, too.  He also advocated for immigrants, a frequently despised and scapegoated population.

Marble conducted much of his work for reconciliation in Greensboro, North Carolina.  He worked with the Beloved Community Center and the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).  Our saint also helped to found and lead the Greensboro Faith Leaders Council, an interfaith and interracial organization.  Furthermore, Marble helped to establish the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2004-2006), which sought the truth about and reconciliation regarding the “Greensboro Massacre” of November 3, 1979.  On that date members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi (or, as Donald Trump would say, as he did of violent white supremacists in 2017,

some very fine people),

killed some protesters and wounded others.  All-white juries acquitted the killers.

(Really, if one chooses not to resist describing white supremacists, especially criminally violent ones who use chants such as, “The Jews will not replace us,”, in such glowing terms, is one not far gone, morally?)

Marble, aged 80 years, died in Greensboro on March 30, 2017.  His wife (Diene), their two children, and other relatives survived him.  Our saint, surrounded by family, died at home.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANSKAR AND RIMBERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOPS OF HAMBURG-BREMEN

THE FEAST OF ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER, ENGLISH POET AND FEMINIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALFRED DELP, GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF JEMIMA THOMPSON LUKE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST HYMN WRITER; AND JAMES EDMESTON, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL DAVIES, AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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God of compassion, you have reconciled us in Jesus Christ, who is our peace:

Enable us to live as Jesus lived, breaking down walls of hostility and healing enmity.

Give us grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided,

that, forgiven and forgiving, we may be one in Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever, one holy and undivided Trinity.  Amen.

Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22

Psalm 51:1-17

Hebrews 4:12-16

Luke 23:32-43

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 737

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Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany (March 8-April 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of the Raising of Lazarus

Image in the Public Domain

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A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is one of my hobbies, not a calendar of observances with any force or a popular following.  It does, however, constitute a forum to which to propose proper additions to church calendars.

Much of the Western Church observes January 18 as the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter the Apostle, the rock upon which Christ built the Church.  (Just think, O reader; I used to be a Protestant boy!  My Catholic tendencies must be inherent.)  The celebration of that feast is appropriate.  The Church does not neglect St. Martha of Bethany, either.  In The Episcopal Church, for example, she shares a feast with her sister (St. Mary) and her brother (St. Lazarus) on July 29.

There is no Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany, corresponding to the Petrine feast, however.  That constitutes an omission.  I correct that omission somewhat here at my Ecumenical Calendar as of today.  I hereby define the Sunday immediately prior to Palm/Passion Sunday as the Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany.  The reason for the temporal definition is the chronology inside the Gospel of John.

This post rests primarily on John 11:20-27, St. Martha’s confession of faith in her friend, Jesus, as

the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.

The combination of grief, confidence, and faith is striking.  It is one with which many people identify.  It is one that has become increasingly relevant in my life during the last few months, as I have dealt with two deaths.

Faith frequently shines brightly in the spiritual darkness and exists alongside grief.  Faith enables people to cope with their grief and helps them to see the path through the darkness.  We need to grieve, but we also need to move forward.  We will not move forward alone, for God is with us.  If we are fortunate, so are other people, as well as at least one pet.

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Loving God, who became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth

and enjoyed the friendship of Saints Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany:

We thank you for the faith of St. Martha, who understood that

you were the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who was coming into the world.

May we confess with our lips and our lives our faith in you,

the Incarnate, crucified, and resurrected Son of God, and draw others to you;

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jeremiah 8:18-23

Psalm 142

1 Corinthians 15:12-28

John 11:1-44

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

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Feast of Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15 or April 4)   20 comments

1964

Above:  Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, 1964

Photographer = Marion S. Trikosko

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ6-1847

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (JANUARY 15, 1929-APRIL 4, 1968)

Civil Rights Leader and Martyr

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A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

–Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, 1967

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I refer you, O reader, to the following biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a prophet; he spoke truth to power and to society when doing that was dangerous and unpopular.  He was also a human being, with virtues and vices.  The totality of his vices did not begin to approach the totality of his virtues.  King was sufficiently threatening (despite his nonviolence) to many racists and other defenders of the status quo that he had to endure numerous false accusations and an attempt by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to blackmail him into committing suicide.  (It can happen here.  It has happened here.)  For example, some accused King of being a Communist.  He was actually neither a Communist nor a capitalist.  Communism, he said, assumes falsely that people lacked souls, and capitalism misunderstands the proper value of a person also.  A moral society, King argued, is person-centered, not thing-centered; human rights ought to matter more than property rights.  King was actually a Christian Socialist and a man who became more radical as he aged; he was not the figure of the “I Have a Dream” Speech frozen in the amber of comfortable white historical memory.   On the other hand, Malcolm X mellowed in his final years.  The two moved toward each other politically as they approached death.

My reading of primary sources regarding how many people perceived King from the middle 1950s to his death in 1968 and immediately afterward has confirmed the generalization (found in many secondary historical sources) that many white people feared King and understood him to be threat to their way of life.  How ironic is it then, that many people who are the political descendants of King’s opponents have embraced the King federal holiday and the naming of streets after him?  He has become a non-threatening figure converted into a statue and placed on a pedestal.  This reality has blunted his prophetic power in contemporary politics.

Michael Eric Dyson is correct; the non-threatening, friendly King of the federal holiday and all those roads is not the person our saint really was.  For example, of one reads King’s anti-Vietnam War speech of April 4, 1967, one reads an address that cost him dearly politically during the last year of his life.  One also reads a scathing critique of the bipartisan Cold War consensus in U.S. foreign policy.  One also reads a timeless condemnation of militarism and institutionalized racism that is at least as potent today as it was in 1967.  That King makes many people squirm in their chairs, however; they prefer to play reruns of the “I Have a Dream Speech” and feel good about agreeing with him on those points.

A prophet is preferable to a mere hero immortalized as a statue, a holiday, and a plethora of street names, I am convinced, for a prophet speaks to the present, regardless of when he spoke originally.  A prophet does not let us off the hook.  We ignore a prophet at our risk, but we get to pat ourselves on our backs for admiring a mere hero.  Furthermore, a martyred prophet challenges us to ask ourselves for what cause we would be willing to die.

Dr. King was a prophet.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 18, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHN STONE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR TOZER RUSSELL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILDA OF WHITBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS

THE FEAST OF JANE ELIZA(BETH) LEESON, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant

you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last:

Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King,

may resist oppression in the name of love,

and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Genesis 37:17b-20

Psalm 77:11-20

Ephesians 6:10-20

Luke 6:27-36

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 307

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Feast of St. Benedict the African (April 4)   Leave a comment

St. Benedict the African

Above:  Icon of St. Benedict the African

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BENEDICT THE AFRICAN (1526-APRIL 4, 1589)

Franciscan Friar and Hermit

Also known as Saint Benedict the Moor and Saint Benedict the Black

St. Benedict the African embodied the virtue of humility.

The saint’s parents were Christianized African slaves in Sicily.  They had even received Italian names–Cristoforo Manasseri and Diana Manasseri.  Their masters deemed them to be loyal servants.  As a result their son entered the world at San Fratello in 1526 as a free person.

St. Benedict manifested virtues throughout his lifetime.  He, a member of the peasant class, was, like most members of his class, illiterate.  He worked as a shepherd during his youth, giving to the poor readily.  At age 21 St. Benedict joined an independent group of Franciscan hermits.  For about seven years he worked as a cook.  Then, at age 28, he became the leader of that group.  Pope Pius IV ended the existence of independent monastic groups in 1564, so St. Benedict joined the Order of Friars Minor at the Friary of St. Mary of Jesus, Palermo, Sicily.  He began as a cook, became the master of novices eventually, served a term as the superior, and ended his days as a cook again.  (St. Benedict enjoyed cooking.)  The respected monk was a sought-out counselor and a humble man.

St. Benedict died at Palermo on April 4, 1589.

Leadership is important in societies, organizations, and political systems.  Too often those who aspire to positions of leadership seek their own good, even if that is merely the maintenance of one’s ego.  I have watched this play out on small states–in rural congregations.  Some of the people who have exercised authority–with or without a title–have had dysfunctional egos.  Those with inadequate self-images have used authority to feel better about themselves, and those with out-of-control egos have used authority to confirm their self-images.  Other people and the congregations themselves have paid the high price for dysfunctional egos.

Among the theological terms I find bothersome in its traditional English translation is “fear of God,”  The word “fear,” in contemporary usage, conveys one concept, which differs from what that term is supposed to convey.  The proper meaning of “fear of God” is being awe-struck in the presence of God, therefore aware of one’s inadequacy compared to God.  That is a healthy spiritual state of being, one which fosters humility.

Leadership, especially in the Church–is properly about building up the faith community.  Status, as a means of boosting a sagging ego or demonstrating one’s perceived superiority, has no proper place.  In church we are supposed to glorify, God, not ourselves.

St. Benedict the African understood that lesson well and acted accordingly.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 17, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARY CORNELIA BISHOP GATES, U.S. DUTCH REFORMED HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF FRANK MASON NORTH, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER

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O God, by whose grace your servant St. Benedict the African,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of Ernest W. Shurtleff (April 4)   1 comment

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Above:  Andover Theological Seminary, Andover, Massachusetts

Publisher and Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D4-17218

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ERNEST WARBURTON SHURTLEFF (APRIL 4, 1862-AUGUST 29, 1917)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

Ernest W. Shurtleff, an alumnus of Boston Latin School and Harvard University, attended the Swedenborgian New School Theological Seminary, Cambridge, Massachusetts, before attending then graduating from Andover Theological Seminary.  For his graduating class (that of 1887) our saint wrote the great hymn, “Lead On, O King Eternal.”

Shurtleff, ordained into the Congregationalist ministry, had a varied career.  He served at the First Congregational Church, San Buenaventura (Ventura), California, from 1887 to 1891.  Then he ministered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, for seven years before transferring to the First Congregational Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1898.  Seven years later our saint moved to Frankfurt, Germany, where he founded the American Church.  In 1906 Shurtleff and his wife, Helen, moved to Paris, France, where they remained.  They coordinated student activities at the Academy Vitti in the Latin Quarter.  And,during World War I, they were relief workers.

Shurtleff was an amateur musician and a published poet.  His works included the following:

Shurtleff’s legacy seems to depend primarily on one great hymn yet he did much more for which people ought to remember him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF FOND DU LAC

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Ernest W. Shurtleff and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

First Day of Easter: Easter Sunday, Year B–Principal Service   Leave a comment

Above:  Victory of the Resurrection

Raised–In an Altered Form

APRIL 4, 2021

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The Assigned Readings for This Sunday:

Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 25:6-9

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43

John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

The Collect:

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

First Day of Easter:  Easter Sunday, Year A–Principal Service:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-year-a-principal-service/

First Day of Easter:  Easter Sunday, Year B–Principal Service:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-year-b-principal-service/

First Day of Easter:  Easter Sunday, Years A, B, and C–Evening Service:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-years-a-b-and-c-evening-service/

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My devotion for this Sunday morning is subjective, whereas my text for the Easter Vigil is a straight-forward “He did rise from the dead” affirmation.  If you prefer that, follow the link.

The power of the Resurrection is that of restored life–in an altered form.  One cannot pass from life to death to life again without emerging changed.  I know this power well in my life.

I was a Ph.D. student at The University of Georgia from 2005 to 2006.  My program became a casualty of my major professor.  So I limped my way to the emotionally draining end of a dream.  I was burned out on being a graduate student.  Besides, in my understandable anger, I had burned my bridges.  There was no turning back, one way or another.

Then I faced legal charges, of which I was innocent.  Finally, in late June 2007, after making my life difficult for months, my prosecutor offered a compromise which entailed the court dropping all charges immediately.  I accepted; at least the case was over and I avoided a criminal record, a result I value because of my innocence.  (Yet I distrust the legal system to this day.)

The combined traumas of 2006 and 2007 killed (metaphorically speaking, of course) my former self.  Then, by the power of God, the new self began to emerge.  (Here is a link to my poem from that period.  He looks like the former self outwardly and has many of the same memories as the former self, but is slower to judge and quicker to try to understand others.  The new self grasps better how much he depends on God and accepts this reality ungrudgingly.

Yes, I carry psychological scar tissue, but scar tissue is a natural result of surviving an injury or injuries.  I am grateful to be where I am spiritually, but do not look back fondly on my journey in 2006-2007.  It was truly painful, but it made me a better person. The bottom line, however, is this:  I am still here, a little worse for wear yet better off in many ways.  I still here because of God’s power, not my own.  [Update: Those negative emotions washed out of my system years ago.  I would not have been human had I not had such emotions, but I would have been foolish not to drop that burden years ago.–2017]

Resurrection used to be abstract for me.  Not anymore.

KRT

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Published in a nearly identical form at LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on July 28, 2011

https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/uga-and-me/