Apr. 15, 2001

Psalm 23

by Anonymous

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Poem: Psalm 23, by King David.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for though art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely the goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Today is Easter Sunday in the Christian church, the holiday that commemorates Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead. The Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. prescribed that Easter be celebrated on the Sunday after Passover, since that date had been established in Jesus' time. After 1582, when Pope Gregory the Thirteenth introduced the Georgian calendar, Orthodox Christians continued to use the Julian calendar, so Easter can sometimes be as much as five weeks apart in the Western and Eastern churches. This year, however, the Eastern and Western dates coincide, and all Christians observe Easter Sunday today, April 15.

It's the birthday of painter Arshile Gorky, born in Armenia (1915). He moved to New York when he was 19 years old, and became a famous painter known for his sweeping black lines and intense washes of color.

It's the birthday of "the Empress of the Blues" Bessie Smith, born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (1898). Her first recording, Down Hearted Blues (1923), sold more than two-million copies in the first year alone. She recorded 150 blues songs, backed by such great musicians as Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, and Benny Goodman.

It's the birthday of painter Thomas Hart Benton, born in Neosho, Missouri (1889). He's best known for his big, swirling murals, masterpieces of 'regional realism,' that show farmers scything hay, hillbillies, soldiers, and miners.

"If it was left to me, I wouldn't have any museums. I'd have people buy the paintings and hang them anywhere anybody had time to look at them: Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, and Chambers of Commerce — even women's clubs."

It's the birthday of novelist Henry James, born New York City (1843), best known for his novels Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), The Wings of the Dove (1902), and The Golden Bowl (1904). His grandfather was one of the first American millionaires, so James was raised in wealth. His father moved the family back and forth across the Atlantic and engaged tutors for his children. When James was seventeen, the family settled, more or less, in Newport, Rhode Island. He began a brief period of study at Harvard Law School, but he soon decided he wanted to be a writer. He moved to Europe in his early thirties, at first living in Paris, where he was close to Ivan Turgenev and Flaubert; then he moved to London and began writing about the contrast between America and Europe. In 1915, sympathetic to England and its allies in World War I, and much dismayed by the United States' determined isolationism, he became a British subject.

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