Saturday, March 21, 2015

Corinth Church Building, July 2002

In twelve hours, I will be preaching the wedding of Gina and Keith. Weather permitting, it will outdoors but there is always a Plan B. This entry, which I wrote a number of years ago, is about the place my parents got married. It is important because it is referenced in the ceremony tonight. Please keep the newlyweds to be in prayer!
There was a card in my mailbox on Saturday. That is a common occurrence recently as so many friends have showered me with expressions of love and sympathy since Dad's death three weeks ago. In a circle of life moment, this card contained, along with thoughts of consolation, the birth announcement and obligatory cute picture of Luke Phillips, born in March in Tennessee. Luke's mother is the former Kathryn Thomas, one of my high school basketball players at Friendship Christian School and the recipient of the dedication of my book. In all my years of teaching and coaching, I have never met anyone whose heart was purer than Kathryn's. It was a joy and honor for me to be asked by Kathryn and her groom-to-be Andrew to participate in their July, 2003 wedding as one of the ministers. In the ceremony, I made reference to my parents' wedding and the little country church building where they exchanged their vows of loyalty to eternity, to each other and to the Lord. As I delivered my share of the eulogy at Dad's burial, I could not help but reflect on that building which stood at the sight of his- and Mom's eventual- resting place. What follows is an excerpt from Kathryn and Andrew's wedding.

"Kathryn, Andrew- my parents were married on Christmas Day, 1949, in Nashville, Arkansas. In their wedding picture, posed at the front of a little country church building, you see a beaming young couple, surrounded by family members and friends. More than five decades have elapsed since their joy was captured on film. As time went by, the country congregation closed its doors. The building was sold and moved and more or less disappeared for years. Recently, my Uncle Jack tracked down it whereabouts, finding it miles away in the middle of farmland, obscured from the road by trees and brush. Last summer, as we gathered for a reunion, many of my relatives made a pilgrimage to that structure which held great emotional ties for our family to a bygone era. The paint had been stripped off by the weather, the windows were broken, the pews had been removed, and the floor looked like it would collapse if anyone attempted to cross it. Nevertheless, we were all drawn inside, and my parents stood on the same spot where they had pledged their lifelong commitment to each other fifty-three years before. The camera flashed again. This time, the film framed an elderly couple, still beaming, arms around each other, more in love than ever. The church building has disintegrated because it was constructed with human tools; my parents' marriage has survived and flourished because it was built by God.

And so it will be for you. I speak for this gathering of your families and friends when I confidently predict equal longevity for your partnership. On July 12, 2053, as you assemble with your children and grandchildren in the celebration of your Golden Anniversary, this building may be long gone but your marriage will be unbreakable and the Lord will be glorified because of the manner in which you lived your lives."

In the picture below, Mom stands at the door of the Corinth building during our family reunion six years ago. The portrait above is of my parents' wedding in that same building on December 25, 1949.

God bless,
Steve (grandson of Jord and Ruth McClure Chesshir and Harold and Minnie Petersen Hawley)
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh How Beautiful. Than k you for sharing this with us all :)