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December 2009 Archives

THE MIRACLE OF THE CHRISTMAS CROSS.

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God bless you.

Happy birthday, Jesus, and Merry Christmas to everybody else.

I feel like having church, if you don't mind. I said I feel like having church John

Powers, Marcia Starks, Pastor Charles Jenkins, Pastor Clay Evans, Maria, Donna,

George, Connie, Posey, the Kizart brothers, Veryuncye, Gwen Murphy, Carole, Betty,

Eugene McKinney, Deacon Erwin Dabney, Sister Veola Broyles, Sister Beverly Rogers,

Rev. Darrell Jackson, Rev. Joseph Jackson, Rev. DeVille, Rev. Hardy and the rest of

y'all.

Hallelujah!!!!!!!

Thank you Jesus!!!!!!

Joy to the world because the Lord is come!!!!

Hark the heralded angels sing, "Glory to the new-born king. Peace on earth and

mercy mild. God and sinner reconciled."

In case some of y'all just tuned in, here is late-breaking news from heaven's anchor

desk with the prophet Isaiah reporting in the field of Old Testament antiquity: "For unto us

a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder:

and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting

Father, the Prince of Peace."

It's been some 2,740 years since my fellow news reporter Isaiah filed this

report. And just as it was shouting news then, it's "sho nuff" is shouting news today. And

I'm mighty glad about it. Are you?

This is my 66th Christmas. 'Tis the season to be jolly, to be sure. Yes, this is the

happiest time of the year. Colorful lights, smiling faces, jingle bells, beautiful sacred and

secular decorations and laughter fill the air.

But Christmas will not give my cross or your cross the day off. Sickness, sadness

still abound all around town to make us fill down and wear a frown. But no cross, no

crown.

Even when King Jesus was finally born of the virgin Mary, sired by God through

the Holy Ghost, who had sacred sex with the virgin Mary; hear me now, born He was in

Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger because there was no

room for Him in the inn.

That's why one day a songwriter took a pen and wrote these lyrics: "Away in a

manger, no crib for a day, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head. The stars in the

bright sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay."

Even then, when sin got wind of God's grace coming 'round the bend, there sat

upon Israel's throne, a psychotic, neurotic, manic depressive, schizophrenic king named

Herold, who tried to kill the sweet little baby Jesus. And while heaven air-lifted Jesus

and His family out of Bethlehem and placed them in a witness-protection program in

Egypt, Israel's previous home of bondage, Herold had his police, his highway patrol, his

FBI, CIA and secret service agents of that day engage in an infanticidal sweep of the holy

land, killing babies two years old and younger, in an effort to crush Christ in His cradle.

The New Testament writer Matthew reported, "In Rama, was there a voice heard,

lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and

would not be comforted, because they are not." Yes, mothers had babies ripped from

their hugging arms and slaughtered like cattle. This was an abomination of extreme,

obscene atrocity. I wouldn't be surprised this treacherous tragedy broke up choir

practice in heaven. I wouldn't be surprised if the four and twenty elders dropped a tear

or two. Yes, there was limited joy to the world and limited silent night for the first

Christmas.

Listen!

I said, listen!

Can't you hear those poor mothers screaming?

Can't you hear those ear-screeching screams? Screaming like my mama screamed

when she got the news one morning that her sister Senia Bell Crump had died.

Screaming like my daddy screamed when my mother died of blood poisoning and a racist

health care system at age 42 in Lyon, Miss.

I wonder if anybody else feels like screaming right now. Ain't no harm to scream

sometimes. Even I find relief in screaming. Sometimes when I'm all by myself, I scream.

I scream not just screams of sadness but sometimes I scream screams of gladness

because earth has no sorrow that heaven can not heal.

What a cross that was that Jesus had to bear early with that price placed on His

heads and thousands of babies ending up dead in His stead. But whereas others died

for King Jesus in the beginning, King Jesus turned right around and died for us in the

end.

Yes, we know about the Easter cross. We know about how Jesus eventually died

for our sins on that old rugged cross on Calvary's hill far away. We know about how He

surrendered Himself to be wounded for our transgressions, to be bruised for our iniquity

and to have the chasetisement of our peace striped upon His blistered back and His

nail-pierced hands, arms and feet. We know about all that.

But after He died that Friday evening and stayed in the grave Friday night,

Saturday and Saturday night, well, right early Sunday morning, right about the crack

of dawn, He gave the roosters the morning off, and woke up the world by Himself

through His resurrection from the dead.

Thus, He, for whom there was no motel room in Bethlehem's INN, made mercy

room for us in the heavenly END.

That was the miracle of the Easter cross.

Well, I feel like preachin', if you don't mind.

Just as there would be an Easter cross, there was and still is a Christmas cross.

King Jesus was born in the midst of mass misery.

Born in a time of terrible turmoil.

Born in a world of wickedness.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks and the downside of the demographics.

Born at a time when His earthly mama, the virgin Mary, and her husband, were

turned down by every hotel and motel they came across.......until.....hallelujah!.......one

anonymous innkeeper couldn't take it anymore. He just gave in to his compassionate

heart.

He must have said something like this: "I'm sorry, y'all. I know y'all's tired and I know

this young lady is in labor. As y'all know, y'all didn't make any reservations and this, being

Passover, is our busiest time of the year. There have been no cancellations and we have

hundreds of other people on the waiting list. I wish I could give y'all a nice clean room.

But we don't have any. What I can do--and please don't get mad at me--what I can

do is give y'all a stall in the stable among the donkeys and the mules, the sheep and

the cows. It's nasty and dirty in there. But that's all I got. It's cold and stinky in there. But

that's all I got. If you want it, you can have it. That's the best that I can do."

Well, that was a shame. But the divinity of king Jesus was too supreme to be

discounted, demeaned or devalued by poverty, and man's petty misprioritizing. It didn't

matter where He was born. What mattered was THAT He was born. And although His

birth triggered the mass murder of innocent babies, He was born anyway and thus

survived the conspiracy of evil men trying to do Him in.

At this Christmas time, I'm glad that the Spirit of the Lord has moved through U.S.

senators to approve President Obama's health care reform. What this means is that

some 50 million Americans are closer to enjoyin a more merry Christmas. Because of this

legislation, much of a mighty cross has been lifted off the backs of 50 million Americans

who do not have health insurance.

This great cross, this tragic predicament, along with the loss of jobs that included

affordable group health plans, has cost millions their savings, their cars, their homes,

their marriages, their peace of mind, their health and, for many, their lives.

I still can't understand how so many ruthless Republicans opposed this

legislation that would help millions of their own voters. I can't understand how millions

of Americans could be so selfish and so insensitive and so un-loving so as to oppose

the rescue of legions of their less-fortunate fellow Americans.

But thank God that at this Christmastide, millions of Americans will now receive the

welcomed present of health insurance. This gives me another reason to sing "Joy to the

the world."

As a patient in my second year of battling cancer and a bad heart, I can sympathize

with these people because my family and I would have been ruined if I did not have

affordable medical insurance and a union contract that affords me time to seek and

receive appropriate medical care.

My sickness remains a cross of sorts. But every day that finds me still alive and

fighting for wholeness of health is a miracle. And in due season, when God gets ready, He

will heal me completely of my sicknesses and their symptoms.

From a material and physical standpoint, this health care package is the best

massive Christmas present that Americans could receive. And we ought to thank and

praise God for that.

Once again, happy birthday Jesus, and Merry Christmas to everybody else.

God bless you.

I REMAIN A HEALING IN PROGRESS

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God bless you.

It's been four weeks since an academy of doctors, headed by Dr. James Flaherty

and Dr. William Cotts, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, admitted me as an in-patient,

ran me through five days of tests, concluded that I did not need either a heart transplant

or a heart pump at that time and then altered my medications.

They wanted to see if the new recipe of medications could not only stabilize my

progressively failing heart but improve it. Remember, I was originally scheduled to have a

heart pump implanted in me on Oct. 26 at the University of Chicago Hospital. But the Lord

used Lee Stern, former Sting owner and a 60-year, commodity broker on the Chicago

Board of Trade, and his friend James Hodge, an executive administrator at the Mayo

Clinic, to open doors for me to go to the clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The Mayo Clinic examined me extensively. And although the doctors there placed

me on the heart transplant list, they also gave me encouraging reports about my heart,

assuring me that other measures could also help sustain me and they were planning to

try them after I was to be admitted to their St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester on Nov. 17.

But when doctors at Northwestern promised to take over where Mayo had left off

and provide the same care, which would spare me and my wife Joyce the expensive

relocation to Rochester, I decided to give Northwestern a chance to see what they

could do.

Well, so far, so so.

My heart is still weak.

I remain a healing in progress.

I'm still getting by without a transplant or pump, my prostate cancer has yet to be

totally erased and my brain tumor remains benign. But if I don't sense significant

improvement in my heart by next month and I continue to get weaker overall, I will have to

get that heart pump as a bridge procedure to transplantation.

I promised you from the very start of this blog that I would keep you informed of

this whole process with my ups and downs, my progress and my setbacks. I am still

praying for a complete healing of my heart and prostate. But I still suffer troubling

symptoms that tell me I am not yet whole.

I thank God that I'm still alive and that I still have hope and that something positive

has happened at every hospital stop. The Lord just keeps right on blessing me. But God

does not need me to lie about my progress to try to make Him look good before you. I

know that He's able. I know and all the redeemed of the Lord know that He can heal me

if He wants to. But if He chooses to heal me no more than He has already healed me,

blessed be His name.

A lot of people, with the help of false prophets and phony preachers, fake

healings to impress people looking for hope so that they can win these people's trust

and gain fame and fortune. Well, God doesn't need that mess and that's not me. I am

an anointed vessel of God and I deal for real on this healing thing. He has already

healed me SOME, but not completely. And I share every phase of progress and every

segment of healing as it occurs.

What matters most is that He has blessed me to still be alive, to still be receiving

professional medical care and to be able to enjoy these precious Thanksgiving,

Christmas and New Year holidays at home with my wife, our three daughters Nicole,

Noelle and Natasha, and our five grandchildren Lauren, David, Timothy, Caleb and

Nina.

Yes, I still have trouble climbing the stairs in my home. It's difficult and painful.

Yes, I still suffer pain from my prostate cancer, from my lower back, that underwent

surgery Aug. 10, and from my left groin's hernia.

Yes, my hands, legs and feet have grown sore, cold, fragile and weak from poor

circulation.

Yes, I still have dizzy spells and occasional shortness of breath.

Yes, I still have to take pain pills when I have to stand or walk for more than five

or 10 minutes.

Yes, I started seeing blood in my urine a week ago and now must get that matter

resolved.

Yes, I still can not enjoy a good night's sleep without taking a sleeping pill.

Yes, I have lost 55 pounds in the last five months, my appetite is poor and I now

weigh less than 200 pounds for the first time in more than 30 years.

But, I now take 15 pills a day instead of 21. Plus, I still draw a paycheck because I

am a member of a labor union that negotiated a contract that includes medical and

life insurance, medical leave and disability pay.

Most of all, I'm still alive. I'm still able to preach every now and then, do some

basic things for myself and my pain is tolerable.

So right now, I have much, much more to be grateful for than to complain about.

Don't you? Well, let's thank and praise God for that.

God bless you.

Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2009 is the previous archive.

February 2010 is the next archive.

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