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Archive for October, 2013

Peace in the Valley

Craig introduces him as their dad and inspiration. He normally remains in the background willing to let others have the limelight. Before the service he can be seen walking around but not calling attention to himself. He very politely greets everyone, especially the new people that were there for the first time, accepting them for who they are. As a servant leader, his humbleness is legendary. He is Ray Burnett our patriarch, and he came on stage to sing a song that he has sung several hundred times. “Peace in the Valley,” one of the best known Negro Spirituals ever written.

“There will be peace in the valley for me some day
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh, Lord, I pray
There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow, no trouble I see
Only peace in the valley for me, oh, yes”

He might have been 82 years old, but the long standing ovation testified that his voice was as clear as the song he was singing. Thomas  Dorsey would have been proud.

It was our Men’s Steak Night Fellowship, and we were celebrating our third year by having our ladies join us. We loved it so much we want to have them again soon. 200+ men and women had come together in Ray’s Compost Barn to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and there was peace in our valley that night. Our Speaker Jeep, that night, told us men what our women really want to see was Godly Praying Men. That our country was moving in the wrong direction and as Jesus cleared the temple of corruption we need to do the same for our country, and that takes Godly praying men.

Our country needs more of what is going on at that compost barn on the second Tuesday night each month. Where you can look over the crowd and know that the racial barriers have been broken down. I think about John Daye who sang “Amazing Grace.”  That song was written by John Newton who was a captain of a slave ship, which may have brought John’s ancestors to America as slaves. Every month Clyde Alexander, a prominent black servant leader in Madison County is there, along with several different political and denominational leaders. It didn’t matter whether your ancestors came to America on a slave ship or the Mayflower, that night we were one.

On this night, in a world gone mad and a country that seems to have lost its way, all of the trash that we carry around daily was pushed aside and we had peace in our valley.  All of our cultural, political and denominational differences were replaced with the common bond that only Christ can give. If only our congress do the same.

Jeep said that our country needs to raise up good men, which reminds me of a brilliant French philosopher who was curious about what made our nation so great. Alexis de Tocqueville set out in 1831 to travel around America. In his book Democracy in America, written in 1835, he wrote; “Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention, I sought for the key to the greatness and the genius of America in her harbors … in her fertile fields and boundless forests … in her public school system and institutions of learning … in her democratic Congress and in her matchless constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

That truth is confirmed over and over in the Bible, Proverbs 14:34 says; “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

There will be peace in the valley for me some day.

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