Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Family Ties

Whew! Sunday was a busy one for me! I drove to Fort Worth Saturday morning for the wedding rehearsal of Tiffany and Tony, a must as I was to be the minister. Late in the afternoon, I checked into a very nice Holiday Inn Express in chilly downtown Fort Worth- the temperature must have dropped thirty degrees in several hours and the wind was blowing hard. After a good night's sleep, I drove forty-five minutes into Dallas to worship with Frank Myer, a college friend I've reconnected with on Facebook. They cooked breakfast for the congregation and I sat next to a lovely elderly Christian sister. As we talked, I found out her father had been the minister of the Morrilton (Arkansas) church of Christ- so was my dad! After services, I drove back to Fort Worth and practiced for the wedding, which was an amazing affair. There is always a funny incident- one of the flower girls, Tiffany's little cousin, cried all the way down the aisle as she scattered her petals. There has to be a bit of levity to all formal occasions! 

My favorite moment of the wedding was one that I would guess not everyone picked up on. When you are the officiant, you are privy to some insights hidden from the crowd. Mine two days ago came when another of Tiffany's  cousins, Brittany, sang the hymn God's Family in the interlude between the vows and the You may kiss the bride/May I present to you Mr. and Mr's Tony Talamantes. And as Brittany sang, I watched Tiffany, standing in front of me, singing along with her relative. In all the thirteen (I think) weddings I have performed, that was a first for me and a sweet one at that. In the middle of one of the two or three highlights of her life, Tiffany reverted to the spiritual upbringing of her mother and father. That's good parenting.

But I also did some singing Sunday, although not nearly as melodic as we heard at the wedding. The singing during our AM worship was incredible. (I especially liked a hymn I had never heard before, My Soul Is Filled With Joy!) After the final AMEN, Frank introduced me to the couple sitting to my right on the pew. They had come shortly after we had begun and we did not have a chance for formalities. The wife, Heather, I learned, was from Houston and had graduated from Northland Christian, one of our sister schools. The husband, Scott, told me he, like me, was a Harding grad and that his mom was on the HU faculty. He then asked me the spelling of my last name and when I gave it, he asked if I was related to Monroe. I responded that Monroe Hawley is my uncle, the older brother of my dad, Roger. Scott then told me we were cousins! He explained the connection and I would guess we must be third or fourth cousins or somewhere in that kinfolk neighborhood. He's even been to a reunion with that side of our family! I had been singing with my flesh and blood for a whole worship and not even known it. 

What I think is interesting is that both Tiffany and I sang with our cousins on December 18th but only one of us was conscious of it at the time. It also was a day with meaning for me as it would have been my mother's birthday and I miss her singing, both to me as a little one and her singing of hymns when she didn't realize we were listening. Singing covers such a range of emotions and purposes: joy, praise, mourning to name just a few. It is part of so many aspects of our lives and we don't always have to be proficient to participate.... although maybe I throw that in because I have no discernible vocal skills. But there is some musical DNA in the family. Scott's and my cousin, Caleb Hawley, made it to the final twenty-four of American Idol several years ago! I know who I'll be asking to sing at my wedding. Some of you think my getting married would be a miracle. Well, wasn't that where the first miracle of Jesus occurred? It's the season of hope!

Applicable quote of the day:
My advice: Take a second out of the day today and be thankful for your family. 
Jenna Morasca

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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