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From The Chaplain's Desk
February 2015 Chaplain's Corner

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  FEBRUARY 10, 2015 --

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men:  The title is from the Book of Sirach, one of the Apocryphal books of the Bible. In fuller form it is:

Let us now praise famous men,

  and our fathers in their generations.

  The Lord apportioned to them great glory,

    his majesty from the beginning.

It is also the title of a famous book by James Agee, documenting the everyday life of three poor tenant farmer families. In this context the title is obviously used for its irony. 

I was reminded of the phrase from looking at the calendar for February, where we honor both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, with Washington often called the Father of our Country, and Lincoln called Father Abraham by the slaves who he caused to be freed with his Emancipation Proclamation. There are also some famous women with birthdays in February: Rosa Parks on Feb. 4th and Susan B. Anthony on Feb. 15th. And in Arkansas the third Monday in February is Daisy Gatson Bates Day.

All five of these individuals have in common their fight to increase freedom for various groups of human beings: Washington succeeded in the fight to win the freedom of the American colonies from Britain’s tyrannical rule; Lincoln famously ended slavery; Susan B. Anthony fought both for women’s rights and to end slavery, and Rosa Parks and Daisy Day were active in the struggle to end segregation.

The Bible has numerous examples of people who struggled to bring freedoms to their people, starting with Moses, who helped God deliver his people from Egypt. And they weren’t all men. The Prophetess and Judge Deborah was responsible for organizing her people to drive the Canaanites out of Israel, for which role she is sometimes referred to as “Mother of Israel”.

But the other thing that all these people have in common is their faith in God and their frequent prayers to him to help them in their causes. Rosa Parks once said: “Prayer and the Bible became a part of my everyday thoughts and beliefs. I learned to put my trust in God and to seek Him as my strength.”  And Abraham Lincoln is famous as saying he was “driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.” We can take a lesson from all this.

In the words of Joseph Scriven’s familiar old hymn: 

O what peace we often forfeit,

  O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

  Everything to God in prayer!


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