Lord, lift me beyond explanation
For more than 150 years, in season and out of season, the hand on the steeple of the First Baptist Church of Griffin, Georgia, has “silently spoken to the world about us of the glory of the other world.”1 The origin of the icon remains unknown. Lightning struck the church steeple in 1884, and the church minutes record for June 8 that year: “On motion the deacons were requested to look after and have the lightning rod repaired.”2 During the repairs workmen discovered that the lightning rod was a large hand with the index finger pointing heavenward. The hand on the steeple had become so corroded, it was unrecognizable by the church members on the ground. Therefore, one bolt of lightning had restored the elevation of the hand and rekindled the aspiration of Johnson Oatman’s hymn, “Higher Ground”: I want to scale the utmost height And catch a gleam of glory bright; But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, lead me on to higher ground.” Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith on heaven’s table land, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground. This book is an answer to the prayer and an anthem of gratitude to the ministers, deacons, and company, both present and departed, of that august household of faith in which I was privileged to serve for more than three decades.
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