Sunday, March 27, 2005

HAPPY EASTER!

That Eastertide with joy was bright,
The sun shone out with fairer light,
When, to their longing eyes restored,
The glad apostles saw their Lord.

He bade them see His hands, His side,
Where yet the glorious wounds abide;
The tokens true which made it plain
Their Lord indeed was risen again.

Jesus, the King of gentleness,
Do Thou Thyself our hearts possess
That we may give Thee all our days
The tribute of our grateful praise.

O Lord of all, with us abide
In this our joyful Eastertide;
From every weapon death can wield
Thine own redeemed forever shield.

All praise be Thine, O risen Lord,
From death to endless life restored;
All praise to God the Father be
And Holy Ghost eternally.

---Un­known au­thor, Fifth Century

Hallelujah! He is risen!

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.

The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that the Messiah must rise from the dead.

Then Peter and the other disciple returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.

They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"

She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?"

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."

Jesus said to her, "Mary!"

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher).

Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

---The Gospel of John 20:1-18

Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday

Today's commemoration has always struck me as misnomer. How could the Friday upon which Jesus was killed be labelled good?

The message of Good Friday is indeed bittersweet: it is today that the God of the universe, who loves us so much, gave his life that we could live eternally. Glory and honor to his name.

Here's something that my brother Jimmy Mitchell (BYX '05) sent me today:
Today, all over the world, Christians are setting aside time to meditate on the cross of Christ. But as we focus our attention on the cross today, let’s not make it a time of sadness or self-accusation. Instead, let’s turn our time of silence before the cross into a time of awe, worship, and unspeakable gratitude for all that God has done for us.

As we gaze, let us consider a central question: Why did Jesus have to die this way? The answer, of course, is for love. It was out of love that he stooped down low and gathered up each one of us in his arms. No matter what our weakness, he has overcome it by nailing it to the cross with him.

It was nothing but love that placed him on the cross: love for the Father and a deep desire that humanity share eternity with him; love for each one of us, that we be released from our bondage to sin and death. Jesus was blameless and worthy of highest exaltation. Yet he embraced God’s will and in humble obedience he freely embraced the cross so that we could share in his resurrection life. How can we not stand in awe of so high and so deep—so passionate and so true—a love?

There is nothing that we need to add to this great love. Indeed, there’s nothing that we can add to it! We can only receive. This truly is a glorious day to gaze on our Lord in love and awe and gratitude!

“Father, I am in awe of your plan of salvation. You have transformed me in Christ, and I want only to worship you today. I open my arms and my heart to receive all the spiritual blessings you long to pour into me.”

Thanks Jimmy.

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (Paul, in 1 Corinthians 2:2).

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Have a blessed Maundy Thursday

As we remember this night in which Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another, and gave us the gift of the Lord's Supper, may we rededicate ourselves to living differently than the world: and being a light in this time of great, great darkness.

Expedition to Memphis

I got back from Memphis today, after brother Tyler Fiveash (BYX '03) and I went down to his homeland to watch our Vanderbilt Commodores take on the Tigers of the University of Memphis, aka West Tennessee State University.

Though the 'Dores did their best, they could not conquer the thuggish Tigers, and an amazing season of Vanderbilt basketball ended last night at the FedEx Forum.

I am so proud of our team, and the work that they put into the season this year. It's the first time Vandy's had back-to-back 20-win seasons in about ten years, and I know that bodes well for the future of VU hoops.

Tee-money's house was great, and I got the full Collierville experience, not to mention a great tour of Memphis from Tyler and his dad.

Monday, March 21, 2005

AMAZING SHOT: Vandy beats WSU in dramatic fashion

The noble, courageous, admirable, and astoundingly-talented Vanderbilt Commodores extended their season with the most memorable moment in my Memorial Gym experience.

Here's the play-by-play from the end of the game:

Vanderbilt's DeMarre Carroll blocked a potential layup by the evil Shocker-player, Howard, with six seconds remaining to protect a 61-60 Vanderbilt lead.

Courageous Mario Moore made two free throws to push Vanderbilt's lead to 63-60.

The Commodores fouled Sean Ogirri, who made the first foul shot and missed the second intentionally. WSU's Howard then converted an offensive rebound off the missed free throw with 0.7 seconds remaining to tie the game 63-63.

Everyone knew the game was going to over-time.

Everyone except Kevin Stallings. He calmly called time out, drew up a play, and gave the valiant men in Black and Gold their marching orders to return once more unto the breach.

The strategy called for Corey Smith to catch a long pass from Jason Holwerda with a defender behind him.

And so the worthy men of Vanderbilt, confident in their ability and their plan, strode forth from the baseline, and into Commodore history.

"To tell you the truth, with 0.7 seconds left, I was just trying to put it up by the goal," Holwerda said. "I was hoping for a tip in or something like that."

It turned out that "something like that" was exactly what Vanderbilt got.

"The ball seemed like it was in the air for two and half hours," Stallings said.

Holwerda threw the length-of-the-court strike to Smith. He caught the ball and laid it in as time expired.

Mayhem made its entrance on Memorial Gym's Ingram Court as thousands of fans, students, and teammates mobbed Smith.

The floor was in disarray when the officials finally made their way to the scorers' table and reviewed the play: they confirmed that Smith had beaten the buzzer. The final score was Vanderbilt 65, WSU 63.

And another incredible chapter was added to the history of that old lady on the corner of 25th Avenue and Vanderbilt Place. It was Memorial Magic. Plain and simple.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Initiation

I finally crawled into bed around 5 am this morning, having just got back from Initiation. It's great to have so many new brothers. I guess I can't really say much more than that about Initiation itself. Brothers: I do have pictures from afterward available, but some of them have Ritual stuff in them, so I don't know if we can give them out.

Frats at Bat was today, too. We one our first game and lost our second one to SAE. I figure we can give them the softball game since we tied them in Rush this year. *wink*

I am beat. Getting like 2 hours of sleep (or less) and then playing softball is not the best idea we've ever come up with, but it was a lot of fun to go ahead and get to spend time with our new brothers.

Anywho, I'm going to bed...

Monday, March 14, 2005

I-Week...

This is the week we make our pledges into Brothers. Get excited for a week of fun and excitement: for the brothers, at least.... :)

Sur la rentre...

[On the return...]

It's great to be back in Nash Vegas for the last two months (!) of college. Insert exclamations about how it seems like I should not be graduating. After all, I shouldn't.

But then again, I'm freaking twenty-two, so maybe I should. Since I'm old as dirt. Ahem. So over the break, I ordered my graduation regalia and invitations. Again, one more way to feel as old as possible.

VANDERBILT suffered a few setbacks over the break. As mentioned, our women made it to the second round of the SEC tournament, defeated by Tennessee. Our men, on the other hand, decided to choke, and lost to Auburn in the first round of the tournament. Talk about blah. And if any of you people leave a comment saying "War Eagle" or some crap, I'll never speak to you again. Period.

The women got seeded fifth in the NCAA tournament, playing their first round up in faraway Seattle, Washington. Maybe Todd Turner will come watch them play.

As for the men, they were relegated (and, unfortunately, rightly so) to the NIT. They'll be playing their first game against Indiana University on the campus of IU up in (you guessed it) Indiana. Something tells me we're not going to do very well.

IN OTHER NEWS, I haven't heard any positive news from law schools yet: don't worry, as soon as I do, I'll be sure to trumpet it from the mountaintops that I will have finally been admitted to an institution wherein I shall study the law.

FINALLY, I want to wish my good friend from home, Elizabeth Beach, a very happy twenty-second birthday. Welcome to old age, Liz.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Spring Break: F & AM

Tonight was the culmination of about three months hopes, as I initiated into the First Degree (Entered Apprentice) of the Free and Accepted Masons.

I'm now officially an E.A. Mason at Overton Lodge #5, Tennessee's oldest (note well: the Greeneville lodge was chartered before Overton in Rogersville, but they lost their charter when their lodge went inactive during the Civil War, making Rogersville's Overton Lodge the oldest, continuous lodge in the state).

I walked into the Masonic Temple (also Tennessee's oldest) at around 6:30 pm, and I got home around 11. It was an amazing experience, and I am honored to have been accepted into such an esteemed and ancient fraternity.

Have you ever wondered what the Masons are about? Check out these frequently asked questions, provided by the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Spring Break: The Promised Land

It is so good to be back in Rogersville. I missed the Promised Land a lot.

Family and I went to good ol' First Baptist Church today, and it turned out to be Youth Sunday. The Youth Ministry really outdid itself this year, with our intertim Youth Minister leading the congregation, a four-person bluegrass band providing the music (with old-tyme Southern Baptist hymns), and a really neat skit performed by all of the youth that outlined God's plan of redemption.

Pastor Reilly gave an impassioned sermon (actually, he almost seemed desperate), and it really got me to thinking about how things are going.

Mom and I had lunch at Charlie's, and I got my usual meal: hamburger steak, baked potato, creamed corn, and green beans. And let me tell you, I sure did enjoy the sweet tea at Charlie's -- no one else on Earth (except Pal's Sudden Service and mom) has better.

After church and Charlie's, mom and I went back home, and I got to go outside and enjoy the beautiful day. It was in the upper fifties, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Titan (my dog, who is a mix between a chow and a German shepherd) and I played around in the field, and he and I teased our horse, Comet (a beautiful Palomino quarterhorse whose full, registered name is Comet's Gift), because, well, she's psycho. And Titan always loves chasing her (before, of course, he gets chased by her).

Dinner was pizza from Pizza Hut, and then bedtime. There's a reason that Rogersville is called Tennessee's Best-Kept Secret. :)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Spring Break: SEC Women's Hoops Tourney

I decided to spend the first part of spring break in Rogersville with my family and friends, taking a break and enjoying the "slow-paced comfort of Southern hospitality combined with mountain charm" (from the Rogersville tourism brochure) that the lifestyle of the Promised Land entails.

I left Vandy on Saturday morning, and I arrived at home about four hours later (thanks to a stop in always-lovely Cookeville for a quick bite to eat). I had already spoken with mom and dad, and after about an hour's rest, we got in mom's car and headed to Greenville, South Carolina to attend the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament where my beautiful and intelligent Vanderbilt Commodores would be playing their archrivals, the Arnge Hordes of the Tennessee Lady Vawls.

When we got there, tickets were cheap (only $10 for general admission!), and seats were easy to find. There was a nice contingent of Vanderbilt fans, and a whole host of Yew Tee fans.

The Commodores battled hard (and I got to see Courtney Fryxell, along with Jillian Danker, players' parents, and members of the National Commodore Club), but ultimately, the Arnge prevailed by only three points, for a final score of 73-76. Nonetheless, I was proud of the Commodores.

On the way back to Rogersville, I gave mom a tour of the North Greenville College campus (the site of my summer with Centrifuge). It was neat to get to show her where I had spent the summer.

We got back home fairly late, and we both went to sleep so we could get up for church today.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Vandy tops South Carolina

To keep our NCAA Tournament hopes alive, the Commodores defeated the Gamecocks tonight at Memorial Gym by ten points. The 'Dores were down by ten with only eight minutes left in the game, but an amazing comeback (partly thanks to some Memorial Magic) by VU, to the tune of a 30-10 run, helped keep Vandy in line for Dancing.

In addition to the big win, it was Senior Night at VU, and we said goodbye to my fellow members of the Class of 2005, including Dawid (I'm not going to try to spell his last name), Jason Holwerda, and Corey Smith (not to mention little ol' me: it was my last game as a Commodore student).

Great way to go out (much like the Vanderbilt-Tennessee football game this year).