SECOND BLESSING ponders this truth through the ramblings of Mildred Stanford Hayes, an elderly “prim and proper” lady in rural Alabama, 1988. She claims to have a Second Blessing, which is more than just doing right. It’s the knowledge that you are pure. It’s not thinking of yourself better than others, though you are, or showing it, though you do, since it’s as natural as breathing. A Second Blessing is a gift shared with prophets of old and yet to come. It’s not just having my name written in the Book of Life, but engraved.
THE FREE DICTIONARY defines Second Blessing as “Sanctification of a Christian believer, considered as a gift of the Holy Spirit given after conversion and sometimes thought of as rendering the believer incapable of committing sin.”
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SHE WAITED FOR REVIVAL TO begin. Sitting on the right-hand side of the Damascus Southern Baptist Church, near the middle of the fourth pew. A gold plaque stuck on each end sanctified TO THE LOVING MEMORY OF ARTHUR FRANCIS HAYES MAY 10, 1919–MARCH 5, 1986. Chin up. Shoulders square. Back straight. Knees together. Feet crossed at ankles. Hands cupped in lap. Momma always said a lady never reveals her true age and carries good posture to the grave.
Stared forward. Past the linen covered Lord’s Table. The store-bought yellow chrysanthemums wrapped in green foil. The new white flickering candles and the cross shining gold. Scrutinized the blood-colored dossal hanging behind the altar. Decided the fabric was soiled. Dagnabbit! Humph! Pish and pshaw! Should’ve been professional cleaning. Another detail I would’ve done. Looked away. Wagged her head. Shrugged. Silently snorted.
A linen handkerchief, edged with frail lace…
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