A GOOD FRIDAY
Today is Good Friday 2018. It certainly was not a good Friday to the people who witnessed the gruesome execution of the young charismatic preacher/teacher/prophet/healer who in just three years had stirred up so much affection and hatred in his homeland and irked the Roman authorities who did not like anyone to disturb law and order. In fact, they purposefully reserved the highly visible penalty of crucifixion for themselves. It was meant to be a lesson for all. Little did Jesus' faithful few followers know at that point the glorious aftermath that would come from that most terrible day. Easter is right around the corner, the happiest day in the year. The life-death-resurrection of Jesus Christ was the greatest event in the history of the world. Salvation came for all. Life defeated death. The light banished the darkness. So, it is indeed a good Friday after all.
Here in Jacksonville, Alabama, Holy Week goes on just as it does all around the world. People are preparing for a great Easter which in this neck of the woods means churches packed with people and fragrant Easter lilies, Easter egg hunts galore to work off the sugar highs induced by overindulgent grandparents' Easter baskets, eat-until-you-drop feasts of the best cooking in the world, and new clothes. It also means a lot of heartache this year. The destruction of the March 19th storms is still all around us. It is too sad to post many pictures of the town as it looks today. Besides, the local newspaper provides enough heartbreaking pictures, at this link .
I will provide one picture. Merrill Hall is the home of the college of business at Jacksonville State University, the most architecturally interesting structure on campus. It is 1960's modern with a stunning domed rotunda and several wings. In the storms, the dome collapsed, most of the windows shattered, roofs peeled off, and at least one of the wings (on the left) was gutted. I do not know the condition of the interior since no one is allowed in the building, but photos in the newspaper show the inside in shambles. Here it is today after a week's clean-up:
Since it housed the business departments, this building had a great deal of electronic equipment such as computers, no doubt much of which was ruined. In all, 23 buildings were damaged at J.S.U. including several that lost their roofs exposing the interiors to water. In the town of Jacksonville, 42 houses were destroyed, 146 heavily damaged, and 371 left with minor damages. It is astonishing that no one was killed. One church, a pretty Baptist edifice, was completely destroyed and several others damaged including substantial harm to the Roman Catholic church. Regardless, the weary congregations are preparing to celebrate the greatest day of the year the best way they can. No weather can stop that.
Meanwhile spring goes on in my garden. At the risk of seeming insensitive to the destruction fickle nature has caused all around me, I will share with you some of the beauty in my garden this week. I like to end the week on an uplifting note. As it does every year at this time, the "snowball" bush steals the show in my garden. I have it planted along the central lawn in full sun. The sight of this awesome and magnificent shrub commands everyone's attention.
Japanese Snowball (Viburnum plicatum "Sterile'). The plant tag said it would grow to 10 feet. This one is about 15 feet high and wide. Although the well-named snowball bushes are common across the south, I have never seen one as large; and I have never seen one with so many blooms. And, I have no idea why it is so happy here. I neglect it most of the time. There are countless hundreds of pure white flower pods.
Among the other flowering plants now showing, the Lady Bank's rose bush is still in full bloom:
The grass in the lower part is Japanese Silver Grass. The small tree on left is Grancy Greybeard. The tall evergreens in the background are Japanese Cedars.
My best regards to all of you on this Good Friday. I am off to St. Luke's Church at noon thanking God it was spared from the storms. It is a somber day here in more ways than one. However, we know that in all ways the darkness will give way to a new day, in Jacksonville AL, and everywhere else. Evil doers cannot stop goodness just as the worst of nature cannot vanquish the human spirit.