Saturday, August 16, 2014

In Memoriam, Francis T. Nichols

I had the privilege to say the prayer at a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of the birthday of a great hero of our state, Francis T. Nicholls - after whom is named a street in the French Quarter and a university.

Other than that, Nicholls's story is largely unknown to modern Louisianians and Americans.  As a devout Christian and confederate veteran of the War for Southern Independence (twice seriously combat-wounded brigadier general), along with being the first freely elected post-reconstruction governor (two terms) and state supreme court chief justice, today's ceremony was conducted under the auspices of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and held at his gravesite at St. John's Episcopal Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

Here is today's prayer:

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Lord, God, heavenly Father, we give you thanks for the life and the memory of Your servant, Francis Nicholls.  We thank You for his legacy of courage and public service that continues to inspire us today.

Along with all the men and women, military and civilian, black and white, wealthy and impoverished, who sacrificed for the principles of limited government and independence, we honor General Nicholls, acknowledging his valor and continued service to his country even when severely handicapped by wounds in battle.

We also thank you, O Lord, for the post-war heroism of your servant Governor Nicholls, who defended the rights of those who were oppressed during the so-called reconstruction of the South.  We also acknowledge You, O Lord, as the King and Judge of all in calling Your servant Chief Justice Nicholls to serve as an honorable magistrate in our state.

In humility we honor Your servant Francis for his long and fruitful Christian life of courage and labor for the improvement of the lives of his countrymen.  May You continue to raise up men and women of courage in our day and in the days of our posterity: those willing to lead by taking up the cross, those willing to accomplish greatness through service.

And we pray in the name of Him who taught us to lay down our lives for others, the One who died on the cross for all, Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for You live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

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