ויפנה יהוה את שבות איוב, כאשר התפלל לחבריו: גם נתן יהוה לאוב פי שניים ממה שהיה לפניו. יבוא אליו אליו כל אחיו וכל אחיותיו וכל מי שהיה מכרו לפני כן, ואכלו עמו לחםבביתו ויבכו אותו ונחמו אותו על כל הרע אשר יהוה הביא עליו: כל אחד גם נתן לו חתיכת כסף וכל אחד עגיל זהב.אז ברך יהוה את קצהו האחרון של איוב יותר מההתחלה שלו כי היו לו ארבעה עשר אלף כבשים, ושש אלפים גמלים ואלף עול שוורים, ואלף ישבנה.Job 42: 10-12
Memphis's Bicentennial Celebration starts this month, and the mem200.com website begins:
WE STAND AT THE EDGE OF A NEW CENTURY.
In 2019, our community will experience a unique moment: celebrating the past with our 200th anniversary while embracing the next 100 years. More than an anniversary, we extend an invitation to people locally and globally to join us as we honor our story, and the powerful next chapter that is about to be written. That story is profound, yet simple. Memphis has changed the world…and we're not done yet. We are a city of doers, dreamers and believers. We create, we invent, we experiment. That's what drives this unstoppable city.
Celebrations are a time of reflection, whether individually or collectively. Celebrations focus on finding joy in hardships overcome, mourning losses experienced and lifting up victories achieved. Individuals, organizations and cities all celebrate from these common experiences.
Memphis over the past two hundred years has overcome many hardships, mourned many a loss, while being able to claim many a victory. The book of Job is one of the most fascinating books in the Bible. While the Bible is not a history book, it clearly gives us snap shots of human history as it unfolds God's redemptive work in the life of mankind. It is a book of Celebration as you see the victories of Job's early experience of total loss and physical suffering, only to see him overcome the hardships by finding acceptance in his circumstances, leading him to new victories in his life.
Memphis certainly has had a history of loss from the Yellow Fever Epidemic to the death of Dr. King, but through it all the city has overcome and prospered. In 2018 Memphis celebrated the return of Penny Hardaway to the University of Memphis as Head Basketball Coach. His being hired has filled the stands with hearts that longed to take pride in Tiger basketball. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital announced its largest gift ever as they work to further expand their capacity by developing The Pinch Project. The Pinch District is a vital part of the rebirth of Downtown, and had been championed by the Memphis Chamber of Commerce President Phil Trenary until his tragic death.
Phil Trenary's senseless death and now the tragic death of Wei Chen are Memphis's most recent examples of loss that Memphis will have to overcome. Phil Trenary and Wei Chen both moved to Memphis and made Memphis their home. It is often said that the greatest champions of Memphis are those that have lived elsewhere; because they have experienced life elsewhere, they know how unique and special Memphis is.
Penny Hardaway experienced all the secular world had to offer while playing for the NBA and returned to Memphis to raise his family. Phil Trenary and Wei Chen moved to Memphis, and because of them Memphis is a better place to call home. They will be greatly missed by their families, and Memphis will mourn along with their families while celebrating what they gave us.
The history of 2019 has yet to be written but may each and every one of us strive to give to Memphis a little of what has been given to us.
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