from the archives – in memory of my grandmother, Lena Rankin Maxwell, on Mother’s Day

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

“Will all visitors please stand and state your name?”
“Again, will all visitors please stand, and state your name?”
“You, in the middle, you may start us off!”
I stand and say “My name is Raymond Maxwell.”
“Raymond Maxwell, are you Raymond’s boy?”
Yes sir, I am. They went to Jackson Methodist,
down the road a piece. But my grandmother was a
member here, and my Aunt Roxie, and my Aunt Liza.

“So, brother Raymond, what is your testimony today?”
Well, I didn’t exactly come prepare to testify…
“What you mean, prepared? Your grandmother would have testified.
“Yeah, brother Raymond, she and her sisters, they all would testify!”
“Yeah, brother Raymond, you gotta testify!”
ok. OK!

If Grandma Lena were here today,
She would call this is a beautiful day,
And she’d say our God is a Gracious Master.

But she would warn us
“judgment is turned backwards,
and justice standeth afar off …”

She would tell us
“truth is fallen in the streets,
and equity cannot enter…”

Then she would pause, and squint,
and look each member of the congregation
in the eye –

And she would say, “Truth faileth,
and he that departeth from evil
maketh himself a prey…”

And she would report that the Gracious Master
saw what was going on, and it displeased him
that there was no judgment –

“And he saw that there was no man,
and he wondered why there was no intercessor –

And her eyes would brighten,
and she would tell us that the Lord’s
own right arm brought him salvation,
and his righteous, it sustained him…
and that we all needed to do the same.
That is what she would tell you today.
That is my testimony.


Author: Raymond Maxwell Librarian, archivist-in-training, retired foreign service officer and Navy veteran.

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