“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighted in this way.”
April 7, 2022
Growing up in Ocala, Florida, the five Gary siblings were lucky our fraternal grandfather lived with us. A businessman and farmer known by many names—" Mr. Gary,” “Mr. W.P.,” “Mr. William Primus,” “Uncle Bubba,” “Papa,” and “PaPa”—we, his only grandchildren, called him “PaPa.” When needed, he would “paddle” us with a fly swatter. If you don’t know what a fly swatter is….
My grandfather was a devout A.M.E. As we grew up, every Sunday the Lord sent, he took us with him to “the brick church,” Mt. Zion A.M.E., located on Magnolia Avenue in one of the “white” sections of downtown Ocala. We sat beside him, on our best behavior (fly swatter waiting!). It was he who taught us to pray and to read, to appreciate family, farming, land ownership, and the dignity of work and community.
PaPa did not “preach” his religious beliefs or engage in activities to convert or save souls. Rather, he treated everyone he encountered with decency and respect, paid honest wages for honest work to the farmworkers he employed, spoke up for the poor, and shared his bounty freely with those in need.
PaPa died in 1954. The lessons he quietly taught about making life more human for all still reside in us.
Heavenly Father, we remember our Ancestors and Elders during this Easter season. Help us to learn to live humanely.
Gladys Gary Vaughn, Ph.D
Daniel Alexander Payne CDC
We invite you to join us on a 40-day journey of prayer, financial sacrifice, physical activity, and spiritual connection.
Each day a new reflection with a scripture and prayer will be posted on the Metropolitan AME Church website and social media to encourage you as we prepare for Resurrection join us as we are reminded, awakened to the great power of God within us, and connect to our role in building with God a world of justice.
Read along with us each day or download the book to read and write along with us offline.