Archive for January, 2013

“Celebration of Life Week”: The First Week in the New Year

January 2, 2013
The first week in the New Year has been designated "Celebration of Life Week."

The first week in the New Year has been designated “Celebration of Life Week.”

“Celebration of Life Week,” one of the events and observances sponsored and promoted by the International Society of Friendship and Good Will, takes place annually during the first week in January, which has also been designed as “Celebration of Life Month”: “A time to honor our children and grandchildren in America. Each child and each life is to be held as a precious gift and should be treated with the highest respect and dignity,” according to

“L’Chaim: To Life”

To celebrate this occasion, we offer a toast, L’Chaim (the Hebrew expression which literally means “To life.”) L’Chaim reveals a lot about the Jewish approach to life. The phrase is not to a good life, to a healthy life, or even to a long life. It is simply to life, recognizing that life is indeed good and precious and should always be celebrated and savored. According to a noted Rabbi, L’Chaim means not “to life” as it is commonly translated, but “to lives“—to life in the plural: life in all its fullness, overflowing life that impacts others. No one could live life by themselves. We all need someone else. So there’s no point in toasting life, because life that is not shared is unlivable. So in recognition of the “Celebration of Life Week,” the first week in the January, “Celebration of Life Month,” we offer a toast and say L’Chaim!

L chaim--to life

As a follower of Jesus Christ, who is “The Way, the Truth and the Life,” I endeavor to speak life, while making declarations about life in the midst of a culture that seems absorbed with death. In the midst of an environment where dark forces would seek to release a spirit of death, we celebrate life and speak life to our towns and cities, to the states of our nation and indeed to the world. Let’s listen to “I Speak Life”— the title song from the CD by Donald Lawrence, featuring Donnie McClurkin, an appropriate song for Celebration of Life Week.

Celebration of Life–Figurative Public Sculpture

In downtown Columbus, near Veterans Memorial Coliseum, we find an eye-catching metal sculpture displayed again the skyline of the Capital City. Created by Alfred Tibor, a holocaust survivor, the statue depicts a woman lifting a child over her head and tells the story of early life in the town of Franklinton which grew into the city of Columbus.

The sculpture by Alfred Tibor in downtown Columbus, Ohio depicts a woman holding up a child in "Celebration of Life."

The sculpture by Alfred Tibor in downtown Columbus, Ohio depicts a woman holding up a child in “Celebration of Life.” provides photos and the following description of the bronze sculpture:

The plaque on the front reads:

“Celebration of Life

Arthur Boke Jr. was the first African-American resident of Franklinton, Ohio. His story tells far more than the color of his skin. It is a story of love, selflessness, compassion, and understanding expressed by Sarah Sullivant. Her example reaches out to humanity with a mother’s pure love that accepts all human beings as equal, who share each other’s burdens, listen to each other’s stories, and learn what it is to live in harmony.
It was Sarah Sullivant, who with her husband Lucas – founder of Columbus, made the story of Arthur Boke Jr.

In 1803, Sarah had just given birth to a son, when several days later she found at her doorstep an abandoned baby of a slave. It is what happened next that lifts the story into the rare.
Sarah, filled with the love for her own new-born son, could not bear to leave the abandoned baby without help. Urged on by a humanity very seldom seen in those days, she took the baby, and along with her own new son, nursed both to a strong and healthy childhood.
Named Arthur Boke Jr. by the Sullivants, the baby was adopted by the family and lived as a son and brother until his passing in 1841. The Sullivant children, especially Joseph, whom Arthur helped raise as a loved brother, made sure Arthur was buried in the family plot. It was a testament to Arthur’s inclusion in the Sullivant family. It was an example for future generations that love bridges even the deepest of divides.

Presented here as a modern tribute to the Sullivant’s expression of love is “Celebration of Life,” a sculpture celebrating the family’s deed, and enshrined in bronze, a symbol of how all humankind can make this a better world, one child at a time.


Another plaque on the side reads:

“I am a survivor of the Holocaust, the worst genocide in history.
Hatred is destruction
I gained freedom when I came to the United States of America.
I donated this work to tell coming generations; “Freedom, hope and respect, celebrate life.”

– Alfred Tibor – Sculptor

To learn more about the Celebration of Life Week, click here and find out more about the significance of this observance in Columbus, Ohio, the location of the bronze “Celebration of Life” statue erected in Veteran’s Memorial Park in downtown Columbus.

During the first week of the New Year, it is appropriate to continue our blog entries at Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe with a focus on the “Celebration of Life.”

2013: Taking a new look at “The Number 13”

January 1, 2013
The year 2013 provides an opportunity to see "The Number Thirteen" in a different light.

The year 2013 provides an opportunity to see “The Number Thirteen” in a different light.

Last night during a New Year’s Eve celebration at my church, Equip U Ministries, Columbus, Ohio, I was asked to share a poem that I had written related to “The Number Thirteen,” as we entered 2013. Earlier in 2012, I took a look at the number 13 with a different view and noted that thirteen can be a transitional number.  Although it is generally regarded as a number of rebellion and disorder, we also recognize that the number 13 occurs between 12—representing governmental order and 14—representing spiritual perfection symbolized in the number 7—established or doubled.  Apostle Eric Warren had also mentioned that the number could be seen as a transitional number in one of his earlier teachings. The essence my new perspective is expressed in the following poem:

The Number Thirteen

And so faith, hope, love abide [faith–conviction and belief

respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope–

joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation;

love–true affection for God and man, growing out of

God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest

of these is love.

 1 Corinthians 13:13

It [thirteen] occurs first in Gen 14:4, where we read “Twelve years   

they served Chedorlaomer, and the thirteenth year they REBELLED.”

Hence every occurrence of the number thirteen, and likewise  

of every multiple of it, stamps that with which it stands in connection

with rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption, disintegration,

revolution, or some kindred idea.

E.W Bullinger

Number in Scripture   

Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance

God always speaks, even numbers reveal His design.

With brand new eyes I now look at the number thirteen:

What does this so-called “unlucky number” really mean?

When I seek the mind of Christ to properly align

My thoughts to conform with the Word of God, line upon line,

I no longer see rebellion or misdirection

But a symbol of transition, moving toward perfection.

The love of God no expanse on earth can ever confine,

For God removes blindness to reveal His perfect will.

Christ in you, in me, is no longer a great mystery

But shines as in a mirror for those with eyes to see

That each promise in the Word of God He will fulfill.

I must awaken from slumber and walk as the wise

To view the whole of life with newly enlightened eyes.


For the New Year’s Eve service I wore and Christmas gift from my wife, a Tommy Hilfiger “rugby shirt” with bright red and black stripes with the bold number “85” in white with white stitching on the front of the shirt. Someone later pointed out that 13 is the sum of 8, representative of a “new beginning” and 5, symbolic of “God’s grace and favor.” Conceivably, what I was wearing reinforced the message that I was speaking regarding a different view of “The Number Thirteen.”

 The Number 13 and the Concept of the Lagniappe:

As someone who loves language, as one who is said to be a “wordsmith,” I was once asked, “What is your favorite word?” After briefly considering the question, I responded “lagniappe” and smiled broadly.  The ever-present, easily accessible Merriam Webster’s online dictionary offers this definition:a small gift given a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase; broadly: something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.” Generally the term refers to “a little something extra, an unexpected treat, a blessing, a delightful surprise.”

My most memorable definition of the word occurred during my first visit to New Orleans where the term is frequently heard. When my wife and I were taken out to dinner at one of the fine restaurants of renown, I said, “What a delightful lagniappe!” Our host then shared this humorous definition of the concept offered by comedian and chef Justin Wilson, who spoke with a thick Cajun accent:

“You go to the baker, and you buy one dozen ‘cookie.’ When you go home, you count the ‘cookie,’ and you got thirteen ‘cookie.’ Thirteenth ‘cookie,’ that’s lagniappe.”

Mark Twain Lagniappe Quote

Here is another instance of the number thirteen, as in a “baker’s dozen” that can be seen as  being a “good number” that brings blessings rather than one that supposedly brings “bad luck.”

In reflecting upon my favorite word, I was inspired to write the following poem which I revised for this blog entry:

Lord of the Endless Lagniappe

 You will show me the path of life;

 In Your presence is fullness of joy;

 At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 Psalm 16:11



In His presence God reaffirms and confirms once more

That the Lord God is good and that His mercy endures.

Abundant favor and boundless blessings I explore.

The unfailing Word of God strengthens and reassures:

A bountiful table is daily set before me,

Each so custom designed and prepared with me in mind,

Each a unique savory foretaste of eternity.

As I seek to do His will, I know that I shall find

The strength to lead and faith to follow the Lord each day.

The God of all comfort ever surrounds and upholds

Me in peace by the strength of His right hand, as I pray.

Unspeakable joy floods my soul, as glory unfolds.

God releases what the enemy seeks to entrap:

So gracious and kind, the Lord of the endless lagniappe.

May this New Year of 2013 overflow with the goodness of God, “The Lord of the Endless Lagniappe, ” for He alone is able to make all grace abound toward us that we always, having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work.