July 2002 — It is late Sunday night and I have just returned home to Houston from a weekend of very special blessing in Athens, Alabama where I grew up and where my ancestors had lived since about 1805. The occasion was the 40th year reunion on Saturday night of the Athens Bible School graduating class of 1962. All 17 members of our class are still living and 13 were present for this occasion, plus several others who were part of our class somewhere along the way.
Four decades have sobered our foolishness, whitened our hair, produced a host of grandchildren and at least one great-grandchild, dissolved high-school prejudices and cliques and melded us into a joyful fellowship of near-60-year-olds seasoned by the joys, sorrows, struggles and successes of life on earth. It was an exceedingly joyful reunion that brought back many fond memories of happy days long past.
Sunday morning I was privileged to preach twice at Seven Mile Post Road Church near Athens — a Christ-centered church overflowing with the joy of salvation and the peace of Christ. It was a thrill to see many childhood friends, to meet gracEmail subscribers from several towns and different denominations in North Alabama and southern Tennessee, plus one (my mother!) who happened to be visiting from Ohio. I was honored to have several former classmates as visitors in the congregation as well. Athens, Alabama is “God’s country,” in my estimation and my spirit soars every time I return to it. There is nothing quite like the deep roots and close ties generated by a happy childhood in the goodly company of godly people. I am blessed indeed!