All my pastorates were in small towns and urban and suburban communities. August was no different from the other months of the year, except that families were often taking vacations before the children returned to school. Having grown up in a rural setting, I know that August is the season of harvest for farmers. Often they are bone weary on weekends and need a few hours of rest before returning to their labors. Worship can be a part of that physical and spiritual renewal. God is our partner in work, rest, and leisure, and the dividends can make a tremendous difference in the quality of our lives.
The Gospel readings for August are from Matthew and Exodus. These passages describe pivotal events in the salvation history of the Old and New Testaments, and may be considered “front page news” for the modern day Christian.
Summerville Church celebrated its two hundred year anniversary in 2011. There are many other anniversaries that we celebrate in our personal lives. Wedding anniversaries are significant milestones, and with increasing longevity, many couples are now celebrating their 50th, 60th, and even 75th anniversary. Brenda and I will be celebrating our 50th anniversary on August 1. On that day we were married at the Jonesboro Heights Baptist Church in Sanford. Following the ceremony we traveled to Litchfield, South Carolina and then to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We made our first home in the manse of the Presbyterian Church in Lawrenceville, Virginia. It was a small church, much like Summerville. This congregation was a warm and nurturing family, and we continued to be in touch with them through the years. Brenda continued her teaching career in Lawrenceville until we moved to Whiteville almost four years later. Our two sons were born in Whiteville, and Brenda took a sabbatical from teaching until they started school in Fayetteville. Brenda had an amazing capacity to combine the roles of mother, wife, teacher, and active church member. She has been loved and appreciated in every church that I have served. I am truly blessed to have her as my wife and partner in ministry. Our anniversary plans are on hold until she recovers from her back surgery. We are hopeful that this surgery will enable her to have an abundant life, free from pain and disability.
Blessings to All!