If you’re as old as dirt like me, then you probably remember that old gospel favorite ‘I Surrender All.’  

All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at his feet I bow,

Worldly pleasures all forsaken, Take me, Jesus, take me now.

I surrender all, I surrender all,

All to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

The question is, are the uplifted hands a sign of surrender?  Absolutely, you say.  Don’t the police scream, “Hands up?”   Of course they do! 

But we’re not talking about surrendering to modern law enforcement.  We’re talking here about surrendering to our Lord and Savior… surrender of our heart and soul to God.  And we’re not talking about modern day practices and customs.  We’re talking about things that pertain to God’s written word, and how it is and should be understood IN THE CONTEXT in which it was written.  Jesus wouldn’t have talked about tazers… because people in His day would never have understood that!  

Today police use uplifted hands so that they can get a quick view that suspect has no weapons at the ready.  Unless you can fire a gun with your feet, this police move is highly effective.  We have a tendency to carry this modern day reasoning into the House of God.  We think: surrender is surrender, huh?

Is surrender to the cops, the same as surrender to God?  Of course not!  Because there is a difference, consider that there is also different sign of surrender then than now.  We want to get surrender to God correct, don’t we?

Scripture was written so that people could understand the meaning of what that written word says.  Jesus taught in parables so that it would be difficult not to understand!

In those days, warriors fought with knives, swords, bows and arrows, and spears.  Battle was up close and personal.  Today, armies (and police and villains) battle it out with pistols, rifles, and machine-guns… usually far removed from one another.

The sign of surrender in Jesus’ day was to drop down to your knees and on your face.  One cannot yield a sword or shoot and arrow while down!  Today, it’s the opposite.  Any marksman will tell you that your body is much steadier, and your aim much better, when kneeling, or lying prone!

When a common citizen in Jesus’ time was taken before the king, the person never raised his hands to show his surrender, subservience, or devotion to that person of royalty.  No, it was always bowing down, on the knees, face toward or on the ground!  And so it was with defeated armies before their victor.

Hands were lifted when heroes were cheered and celebrated when they were being praised for their victory.

But that was then, now is now you say.  True.  But let’s go back to a modern-day police arrest.  The hands in the air is only the first step!  Yes, the hands are told to go up to reveal that they are empty.  But ‘small arms’ can and are all too often still being carried!  The prisoner is next told to turn around, with hands on their heads, and to walk backwards toward them.  Then told to get on their face, prone on the ground, hands behind their backs, and are handcuffed.  That’s the completion of the modern-day surrender process.  The hands in the air was only the initial step.

Going back to the original question: Are the uplifted hands a sign of surrender?  The answer can only be no.

As scripture says, and as that beloved old gospel song says,

All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at his feet I bow. 

Praise is a celebration of victory, both then and today.  Worship is reverence and submission to our God, both then and now.   




My maternal grandfather was a railroad engineer.  He and my grandmother lived right next door!  He died when I was seven.  

    He had heart trouble and for exercize he walked a lot.  What better place for a RR man to walk than to walk the rails!  And he took me along. 

     The Illinois Central main line ran north to south through Jackson, Mississippi, parallel to Galletin Street.  This line crossed Highway 80 just east of the new G. E. Plant.  A branch line which came into town from the west joined this main line right at South Street and Gallatin.  We had several walk routes to choose from.

    This fateful day we’d walked far south, crossed Hwy 80, and continued south, even crossing Lynch Creek.  An old wooden railroad tresstle crossed this rather large creek. 

    During this period of time, most locomotives were powered by steam, which fed on burning coal and boiling water.  They were big, heavy, noisey, and absolutely amazing to a six year old boy. 

    We’d walked far enough after crossing Lynch Creek, so we turned around to walk back northward.  I guess that the trestle was at least twenty to thirty feet above the water, and perhaps twenty to thirty yards in length.  We were perhaps a third of the way back across, when we heard an ominus sound behind us… the sound of a thundering north bound locomotive!

    Granda Fairchild thought fast.  The train was coming fast!  He reasoned that there was no way we could make it back south and off the bridge… and worse yet, no way we could beat the train north and off the bridge.  Only one option remained!

    During this time period of steam trains that burned coal and spewed hot ashes, wooden trestles were always in danger from stray sparks and fire.  Rail companies installed large 55 gallon barrels filled with water which were mounted mid-bridge and just far enough to the side to allow the train to pass.  This water was for fighting fires.  We headed for the barrel.

    The barrel sat on a very small extension on the bridge.  This platform was hardly large enough to accomodate the barrel!  We climed out onto the tiny platform and hugged that barrel for dear life… and squeezing as far away from the coming train as we could.  

    Soon it was upon us and thundering by!  The whole world seemed to shake and tremble.  I can’t begin to describe how it felt and soundeed as thousands of tons of steel rumbled by.  It was the most thrilling thing  I’d ever experience in my young life!

    Grandpa and I clung to each other across that barrel until the last car had sped past.  I’m sure that his relief was overwhealming.  I was gitty with joy!

    After we’d gotten off the bridge, and were once again walking north towards home, he turned to me and said sternly,  “Don’t dare tell your Mama what just happened!”   And I didn’t, not for many years after my beloved grandpa was gone.


My Rod McKuen Period

Bill Murphy 2020

      Fifty years ago, there was a period in my life when I was between marriages.  As the delightful music in ‘Sleepless In Seattle’ (my favorite movie of all time) said… I was ‘back in the saddle again.’  I’m the domestic-type, so I was destined to pair-bond with someone out there.  My heart and eyes were on the look-out for a future lasting relationship.

      For the first time in my life, I turned to poetry!  I called that my Rod McKuen period.  He had some great stuff on the airways at that time.

      Here are three short examples of my soul-searching musings.


I’m no artist with words.

Don’t judge them harshly.

Just share my thoughts,

   Which lie within them,

      Between them,

         And beyond them…

For the words are only clues.


Someone lives behind those eyes;

    A life, a heart, a soul.

If I may meet but one these,

    Who knows what you I’ll find!


I’ve learned a lesson from life:

    First loves seldom last.

For in loving,

    We learn.

In learning,

   We hurt.

And in hurting,

   We fail to love.

If I am your first love

   …be kind! 




    During my school days, I was a football hero!  Ok, I played football.  Alright… I went out for football.  But in my defence, I STAYED with it for the entire school year of 1954-55.  I also was awarded the coveted Enochs Junior High maroon and white football jacket with the big ‘E’!  The December 10, 1955 article in Jackson Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger attests to this.  I was counted in the number.   Maybe I was ‘last on the list,’ but I was on the list!

    The truth of the matter is: the letter ‘E’ on my jacket was not an award for Excellence on the football field, but a recognition of Effort on my part.  The coach pointed this out, saying that I never missed or was late for a practice… not one.  I’ll take that ‘E’.

    I wasn’t good at football.  I was too small and underweight for one thing.  During practice, I endured (to me) some rough treatment, often times to the great glee of my more macho teammates.  

    The bulk of that football season, I sat out most the games on the bench.  But one game, we were trouncing the other team by a very wide margin.  It got down to the closing seconds of the game, and we were on defence.  The coach had mercy on me, and SENT ME IN!  We held them with no advance, so with seconds to go, we we now on the offence.  I turned and headed back to the bench… but the coach yelled for me to stay in the game.  So, I played my second actual game play, this one on offence.  And then, the whistle blew, and the game was over.  I’d played a play of defence, and one of offense.  And that was total field-time experience in football.

     The truth:  I was not a fast runner, nor an acurate passer, so I was never considered for the backfield.  The ‘safest’ place for me, underweight as I was, was on the line!  I played right tackle!  Yes, I got ‘busted’ lots of time during practice, but knowing I’d not be ‘used’ in real games… I was best used as a practice dummy.  Oh well… this dummy still earned his coveted Enochs E.

     So when anyone asks today, ‘Did you play football in school?’  I can honestly reply, “Yes, I played Right Tackle.  I played offence and defence!”