Saturday, May 01, 2010

A Personal Record

No, I didn't set any new personal best in a sporting event. That would be nice, but this new record was in the area of ministry. This morning I performed a wedding for the oldest groom that I've ever had the privilege of marrying. Allen joined our church about 8 years ago, beginning by attending a Sunday School class that I was teaching at that time. Allen is a Bible scholar and frequently helps lead chapel services at John Knox Village where he resides. Allen also became a good friend of our third son, Josh, who interviewed him for a class assignment about his recollections of World War II. They've gone out to eat together on a couple of occasions and keep tabs on each other through me. Josh is currently studying in China and thus couldn't attend the wedding today.

So, about that record.... Just how old is Allen? He will be turning 99 on May 10th. He was a bit concerned about how folks might respond to the notion of him getting married a week and a half before his 99th birthday, but when he broke the news to the current Sunday School class he attends (one of our largest at church), there was an overwhelming display of support. That was demonstrated today by the great turnout. We had to find additional chairs for the chapel at John Knox to accommodate the crowd that came.

The funniest moment in the service was when I related the experience of meeting with Allen and his bride-to-be a few weeks ago to discuss the plans for the service. We talked about the components and order of the wedding ceremony itself and when we had completed that, he asked me if I had any words of advice for him. When I told that story this morning, everyone laughed. I told them that's exactly what I did when Allen asked me the question. I generally ask a prospective couple to meet with me for several sessions of premarital counseling, but I told Allen that anyone who had lived successfully for 99 years didn't need any advice from me. I told him I was certain he could offer me a lot of wisdom. All in all, it was a beautiful service. I pray that they will enjoy the time that God gives them together.

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