The Rev. Ed Young Sr. is back.

After undergoing triple coronary bypass surgery at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital on May 27, the senior pastor of Second Baptist Church will be back in the pulpit for this weekend’s services.

“It’s a humbling experience,” the 73-year-old Young said of his heart surgery and recuperation. “If you’ve got any ego or pride, it just, phew, it goes away.”

Young — who said he feels “super” – said he recently had a physical, and his doctors gave him the green light to get back to his regular routine.

In the years he’s been a pastor, Young said, he’s helped many through personal crises and has sat in hospital rooms to comfort others. “But this time it was me, and that was different. It was a teaching moment for me,” he said.

An angioplasty more than 20 years ago made him aware of his need for a healthy lifestyle, so for years he’s eaten sensibly and has exercised regularly.

So back in May when he was running and felt a “heaviness” in his chest he knew it was time to call two deacons at his church, Drs. Michael Duncan and Richard Leachman, who just happen also to be his heart surgeon and cardiologist, respectively.

The doctors determined Young’s arteries were 90 percent blocked and recommended the surgery.

“It certainly was a shock,” Young said. “We all know that we’re mortal, but when you face something of this magnitude it’s a reminder. I hope nobody else has to do it, but it’s actually a good thing because it forces you to slow down and begin to think about what’s really important in life.”

Before surgery, Young got in one last workout before what he knew would be an arduous recovery period.

Then he prayed.

“I didn’t pray for healing or that I’d live or die,” Young said. “I said ‘Lord, I surrender to you.’ I didn’t audibly hear God speak, but I can tell you he said to me as clearly as I’m speaking to you, ‘I’ve got you.’ He didn’t tell me whether I’d live or die; he just said, ‘I’ve got you.’ What more could you ask for?”

Because of a hereditary condition, Young said his good (HDL) cholesterol is very low. His goal is to get his total cholesterol down to 100 so that his bad (LDL) cholesterol is proportionate, he said.

“It’s a slow thing,” Young said of recovery, “but you just feel so much better once you get over the surgery. You hold a pillow to your heart (when you move around) because they can’t cast up your chest. When I got rid of the pillow, I made giant strides.”

Summers at Second Baptist are filled with youth camps and programs, and Young said that he regretted not being able to participate.

His sermon this weekend will be the start of a series of sermons based on the book of 1 John and will focus on “How do we know there’s a God and that Jesus Christ is his son,” he said.

“It’s been overwhelming, and I’m sincerely grateful for every prayer and every word offered,” Young said of the outpouring during the past four months. “The only tears involved were after the surgery, when all was well. That was deeply and profoundly meaningful.”

diane.cowen@chron.com  

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