However in the 60's there was a day when Perkins lay in a hospital bed after several beatings by white men. The brutality of the blows caused severe cramping and he needed surgery. He explained his state of mind as "the pain in my heart was just as real, just as raw, as the pain in my stomach."

But he was a Christian. So he began to try to focus on the cruelty experienced by Jesus. There was no justification, no reason, except that some people felt superior and wanted to have power over this "lowly trouble maker."

And yet, from that cross of crucifixion Jesus spoke, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

John Perkins began to change. He writes: "Because of Christ, God Himself met me that day and healed my heart and mind with His love."

Today, in Jackson, Miss., the John M. Perkins Foundation For Reconciliation & Development is spreading the love of Jesus across racial and cultural differences. See their web site at The staff oversees several ministries for all ages: children, youth, single mothers and seniors. Radiating from their chapel is the assurance that forgiveness, mercy, and God's healing power lead to abundant life.

This article originally appeared in the Cookeville, TN Herald-Citizen.

Lucy Neeley Adams has always loved music. She began telling the story of hymns on Christian radio WWGM in Nashville, TN, in the '80s. She then wrote a newspaper column titled "Song Stories" for five years. During that time Lucy's book, 52 Hymn Story Devotions, was published by Abingdon Press in Nashville. Each of the 52 stories contained in the book is written in a devotional format, with the words of the hymn concluding each devotion.
Lucy, dubbed "The hymn lady," can be heard on the first Thursday of each month when she discusses hymn stories during a telephone interview with Michelle Mendoza of "Living Christian." The program is aired on station KCIS in Seattle, WA.
Lucy lives at Lake Junaluska, NC, with her minister husband, Woody. They have four children and fourteen grandchildren. She may be reached for comment at Visit her at