I will never forget my parents taking me as a child to Frank Baker’s 1200-seat Attic Restaurant in West Vancouver by Park Royal Shopping Centre. I loved the delicious ‘all-you-can-eat’ smorgasbord, the endless Tiffany lamps, and James Bond’s Aston Martin car with all the gadgets. My strongest memory though was following Frank Baker and Lance Harrison’s Dixieland Band in a congo-line around the restaurant as they trumpeted out ‘When the Saints Come Marching In’. Although Lance Harrison rarely performed outside the Vancouver area, he was featured in the CBC TV special ‘A Visit to New Orleans,’ filmed during a 1971 trip to the birthplace of jazz. Dixieland Music, sometimes called Hot Jazz or New Orleans Jazz, became synonymous with the song “When the saints come marching in”. This song became so connected with New Orleans that they even named their NFL Football team “New Orleans Saints”.
Louis Armstrong was the first person in the 1930s to turn this Afro-American spiritual into a nationally-known pop tune. Fats Domino, and Billy Haley & the Comets, turned it into a Rock and Roll rendition. Elvis Presley sang ‘When the Saints…’ in his Hollywood film “Frankie and Johnny.” Even the Beatles recorded it. Because of its dominant popularity, Jazz musicians in New Orleans charged 500% more than for other songs just to play it. I never realized back at Frank Baker’s Attic that the song was originally a funeral dirge, speaking about people dying and go to heaven. “O Lord I want to be in that number” expressed the desire to be ready to meet one’s Maker.
Who can forget the scenes of devastation just four years ago in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city? With 80% of the city flooded, many wondered if New Orleans was finished. Out of the ashes has arisen an unlikely football team that has given hope back to a crushed people. It took the New Orleans Saints 21 years to win their first season and 34 years to win a single playoff game. Who can forget the Super Bowl XLIV scene with Saints Quarterback Drew Brees holding his son after the Saints had a surprise 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts? The sports commentator’s final comments were “The Miracle in Miami has happened. The Saints have won the Superbowl!” As Phillip P. Lasseigne, Daily Vidette Features Editor, put it, “When people in the Gulf Coast lost their jobs, their houses and their loved ones after the hurricane, they turned to the one thing that had always been there for them for both the good times and the bad: the Saints.”
I had no idea that Saints Quarterback Drew Brees had a strong faith in Jesus Christ that has shaped his dedication and integrity both on the field and off. To Brees, this dedication means that “you trust in the Lord, you trust that he has a plan for your life, you trust that he is never going to put anything in front of you that is too hard for you, or he would not put it in front of you. No matter what comes your way, you will be able to overcome it. It will make you stronger. It will give you the ability to influence in a positive way so many other people. I want to give back what’s been given to me.”
Besides QB Drew Brees, everyone was talking about the other Quarterback Tim Tebow who was in a 30-second Superbowl ad seen by 100 million viewers. Despite initial concerns by some, the ad turned out to be a lighthearted celebration of family life. Tim Tebow, who was almost not born because of pregnancy complications, became a Heisman Trophy winner and selflessly serves others on medical mission trips to the Philippines. Tim Tebow and Drew Brees truly are Saints who come marching in.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier
Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.
Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…
A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.
Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?
Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.
If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or kindle.
-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.
To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.
– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.