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GD & G-d: Grateful Dead & Bible - Chapter 1: St. Stephen (feast day Dec. 26)

Updated: Jan 26

"Saint Stephen with a rose, in and out of the garden he goes,

Country garden in the wind and the rain,

Wherever he goes the people all complain..."

--St. Stephen - Grateful Dead

YUP, same thing was always happening to his Big Boss it does to anyone whose views challenge the status quo of church, state, organization, or any authority...

then...and NOW...

How this post came to be...or not to that the question?

I had seen the cartoon a long time ago...but, when I came upon it more recently, I heard the above lines from "St. Stephen" playing in my head...and said to myself, "Gotta do a funny post on this connection." BUT DIDN'T...until, I read this article written by a Deadhead, who happens to be a leader in his Chicago church:

SO, here...HEAR...goes...

Who's on First??? St. Stephen's on first...the band led off their 1969 Woodstock appearance with this tune..

tune continues "Furthur" below...

'St. Stephen' by The Grateful Dead. - Jan. 1969 recorded at Playboy After Dark (0:04:01)

--freakin' amazin'!!!

"Grateful Dead concerts carry with them relics and fragments of our culture's history..."

Goin' Furthur...side trips...following the rabbit...guided by a Dark Star... (half-step footnote...B LOW)

1/2Step 12"Note: this "Dark Star" is a 37-minute segment that includes a Jam, Dark Star & Morning Dew. Appropriate, because by the time the shows were over, we were outside walkin' in the sunshine...daydreaming...

--somebody better tell them that their URL for this post contains the number "666"

--excellent piece based on interviews and other sources

--included was mention of an 1833 hymn about St. Stephen. Here's a link.

"Dedicated to the memory of Jerry Garcia." It's a mother-Truckin'-load of resources...that included interaction from fans with the site's creator: David Dodds. See example below under next link.

--as with all annotated songs on this site, words are hyperlinked for your Deadification. Here's one example in which David posted these reader comments on the word "garland." (my added emphasis)


This note from a reader:

Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2006 From: Damian G Stephen Subject: St. Stephen hints David, I love your Dead annotation website. I was born a little too late and kept in the dark too long to be a full-blown Dead fan right now. Am working on that... In the meantime, I love what you're doing with the lyrics. It's a great project. I wish I knew more about the Dead, but I enjoy your pages regardless. I learn something new with every browse. In the meantime, I came across the song "St. Stephen" this weekend. As you might be able to guess from my last name, I have an interest in things Stephen. What jumped out at me was the word "garland." The Greek word for "garland" is "stefanos"--if I had Greek fonts, I'd give you the actual spelling--essentially the name of that first martyr. That brings me to point #2: "martyr" is Greek for "witness," an individual who is asked to answer truthfully. Why Stephen wouldn't know how to answer, I'm not sure about that one. Keep up the awesome work, Damian

(from the above Arkansas Catholic article) As he was suffering (Acts 7:59-60), Stephen said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He then fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice just before he was killed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” – similar to Christ’s last words on the cross.

When pictured, St. Stephen is usually depicted with a deacon’s dalmatic, censer, miniature church, Gospel book, martyr’s palm frond and the stones used to kill him. He is the patron saint of altar servers, casket makers, deacons and those with headaches.

Many Deadheads think the song also references Stephen Gaskin, an American counterculture icon in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in the 1960s and co-founder of “The Farm,” a spiritual commune he opened in 1970 in Summertown, Tenn. However, in an interview with Relix magazine lyricist Robert Hunter said the song wasn’t about Gaskin, “It was just St. Stephen.”

Hunter muddied the waters a bit though; in another interview with the magazine, he said,

“I didn’t know who the real St. Stephen was until after I wrote it.”

Fittingly, when band leader Jerry Garcia passed away in 1995, his memorial service was held at St. Stephen Episcopal Church on Belvedere Island, Calif.

The long-time lyricist ends with...

"I feel your silent laughter

at sentiments so bold

that dare to step across the line

to tell what must be told,

so I'll just say I love you,

which I never said before

and let it go at that old friend

the rest you may ignore."

The HEART...Bottom Line of all transformative belief systems...

"Love one another" - Jesus

"Lovingkindness is my religion" - Dalai Lama

“Leap beyond traditions and let there be love - leap beyond culture and let there be love - leap beyond geography and let there be love - leap beyond labels and let there be love.” - Aşkanjali: The Sufi Sermon by Abhijit Naskar

“Being kind to the stranger, is far more religious than listening and preaching "love thy neighbor" - lending a hand to a person stuck in misery to deliver some peace in their life, is far more holy, than repeating a thousand times "peace be upon Mohammed".” (Ibid)

Are you kind??? - Grateful Dead

And this latest edition from my license plate collection:

Let's be the change we want to see in our world...


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