Thursday, April 23, 2014, 7:46 p.m.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Hey, its’ me Lloyd; your favorite child, well maybe not Daddy’s. I know you’re thinking what does he want, And, Momma I can hear you saying, “Monk’, its’ Lloyd, just give him whatever he needs,” but don’t worry nothing is wrong, and all I need is just a little guidance, I promise.
I thought that you might think that something was wrong as I haven’t written to you in a few months; okay a few years, okay since college, but, Momma, I do watch that fantastic family video Kimberly made for your 90th birthday over and over again, I even have a copy at work and watch it there; and I think about both of you often.
Of course, my favorite part of the family video is when my song and pictures come up. Boy, I was a really cute baby, and dark; way before tanning beds. And that hair, OMG, no wonder Momma cried when you took me to the Barber Shop to get my first haircut, the way Momma was crying I thought they were going to put me to sleep, or worse, that you were going to take me to Camp Cherokee. I still have nightmares about that place. Oh, and there are copies of the family video for sale in the lobby, $10.00 plus shipping and handling, all proceeds will go directly to ME in order to help pay for Chandler’s Prom Dress from last night; Chandler, you were and are beautiful!!
I know Pastor Debra told me not to make this all about me; but are you kidding, pass up this chance?
Momma, I do remember one of the last things you did before you left was take my face in your hands and look me in the eye and you said, “You sure are pretty.” So I’ve got that going for me; oh, back to my assignment.
Hey, Daddy, you would really like the Lady Preacher, you can tell she truly loves God and boy, can she sing! I guess you watched when she did Mama’s funeral. What a great tribute to a wonderful Lady!
You would have thought she had known Momma for years. Of course Pastor Debra understood my Mother very well, as they are both cut from the same mold; tough, loving, kind, resilient, unselfish, and some more tough, and what a great attitude!
By the way, I was wondering, do you get to watch these things in High Def? Is it better than Blue Ray? I was hoping they would have Dolby Surround Sound up there.
Oh, and I guess I could visit you both a little bit more over on Cherry Road, but you know, It’s really not a very nice neighborhood.
Anyway, that nice Pastor Lady, Debra asked me if I would speak to the church about our family and our affiliation with and longevity at St. John’ United Methodist Church.
I know; I don’t blame you; I thought you might be a little uncomfortable with me talking about our extended family. And yes, thankfully, we were able to keep the really weird stuff under wraps, and I will try to do that just for you.
And, Momma, I don’t want you to worry, I truly am not mad about the time when I spoke in church a few years ago, and Chandler told you that she was reading the Bible verses before my sermon; and you said “Oh Shi -Expletive, they are letting your Daddy preach,” Don’t worry I am over it, really. Nothing a little therapy couldn’t fix. Well. Enough about me,
First, I thought I would thank you Daddy and Grand Daddy Snipes for showing me the importance of giving to the church, not telling me but showing me! Daddy, I will forever picture you with that small white envelope in your hand, as you never attended church without it, and you, Momma making the check out to St. John’s every week for Grand Daddy Snipes as he was ninety plus and could not write them out himself. Luckily, my children have been able to not only witness, but understand and hopefully, will one day exercise the principles of tithing you and your fathers’ and Grand Fathers’ began in our family.
Hey, Daddy, I also remember you telling me about the time when I was really little, and the Minister said to give of your tithes and offerings, and when the plate came by I put my tie in the plate, I thought he said give up your ties not tithes and offerings; hey, I think I really liked that tie; it was a clip on and everything.
I can remember too, Daddy, that the only time you would miss church was for a REALLY, REALLY BIG GOLF TOURNAMENT. Yes, God is out there on Sunday, too. Anyway, that’s what Grand Daddy Case always said. Of course, I think he actually played more golf than me!
Next, I think I will tell the congregation how I grew up watching you usher on the First Sunday of every month and hoping when I was old enough, I could become an usher on your Sunday. And how, after you became one of Captains of the Ushers, you were at the church so often, I thought you were working for Greene Funeral Home.
The only thing we were missing was the big black Cadillac; maybe I can get Frank to let me drive his this week.
Hey, I guess you already know this, but I have my own Sunday now.
And gosh, how long were you and Dave LeGrande’s Daddy in charge of all of the Church’s Maintenance issues? Man, how time flies.
As you well know, I am not much help in that department, but every once in a while I do make a pretty good financial suggestion that seems to help the church.
I guess you should have let me get out of the truck a little more often. But I truly understand, it took weeks and weeks for your hair to get back to normal after the last time you got shocked – I really thought the power was off!
Remember when I was little and Aunt Mary died, we went to this church on Charlotte Avenue for her funeral and I was amazed at how they threw water on her, and waved that smoke over her casket as she was carried down the aisle, and I told you that I thought we had really missed the boat by not being whatever religion she had become when she married Uncle Jimmy; as I was thoroughly convinced that they would get her into heaven with the smoke, the water and all the other stuff. They didn’t even speak English!
And you asked, why I was so weird?, and then told me that all of the Pomp & Circumstance, (And I like Pomp and Circumstance) really did not matter, we were and had been Christians and Methodists for several generations and if you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins you were forgiven and you were going to Heaven, and no one could take that from you!
I still think the smoke and water were pretty cool.
And I always did wonder why Your Daddy took you and your Brothers to St. John’s Methodist in Fort Mill, SC and your Mother took your Sisters to the Unity Presbyterian across the street. I am sure you told me but I can’t remember. So does that mean are we half Presbyterian? A quarter; just wondering?
I thought I might also tell the people in the congregation how I was so very lucky and blessed to have witnessed, through these many years, the strength, perseverance, resolve and dedication of those members of St. John’s that had gone before.
I was going to make you a list, but then I remembered that they are all up there with you; the ones who went before you and since you left, too….It has been too many.
Hey, maybe you can tell all of them to watch this Sunday since you will all be together, and if they are not busy, they will hear me tell how each of them, the past members and Saints of St. John’s, with their blood, sweat, tears and yes their tithes, were the building blocks of all that is good and right about St. John’s United Methodist Church.
When I look out into the congregation this Sunday, I will see where we sat when I was little, on the second row with Grand Daddy Snipes, Uncle Kenneth, Aunt Beulah, You and Daddy, my Brother and Sisters; all of us – remember when we used to fill up the whole row, then we moved back to the second row from the back, I always wondered why we moved back there, but I just figured it was a PSL thing - we didn’t give enough money to sit in the “good seats” anymore.
Also, Daddy, I thought that maybe I would have them sing some of your favorite hymns; you know, since I am in charge. This is my Father’s World, Blessed Assurance, The Old Rugged Cross, hey, these are some of my favorites, too!
I ran into Fred and Phyllis Faircloth the other night, and we were talking about our families and boy are they steeped in a heritage and a healthy tradition of Methodism over several generations; ministers, missionaries and everything, as are so many other wonderful families represented in this church and congregation.
Momma, you would be real happy as we have many new families with lots of little kids, and they really need Sunday school teachers like you and Daddy, Jack and Margie Hood, and all of the others that had such positive influences on all of the past generations. Luckily, there will be many sitting out in the congregation on Sunday that have and will take that challenge.
I am certain that all of the people sitting out there understand the sacrifices made and the resources expended, both human and financial, it took to not only build buildings to house this Church and its members, but to build generations of families that love and serve God.
And you well know, along with everyone up there, what it takes to not only maintain and continue the heritage and history found here at St. John’s, but also what it will take to build a solid foundation for the future generations of God’s family here at our Church.
And, I truly believe that these people sitting out here really do know, because I have witnessed them in action myself.
We have a Fulfilling Freedom Campaign going on and can you believe that we have already collected over $1,560,000.00 of the $2.3 Million pledged to pay off the new youth building.
It is based on the premise you both always shared with me, give God his share, based on equal sacrifice, not equal giving, according to what he has given you and he will provide – I have seen it work for at least five generations in this family alone.
I know some people have not been as fortunate as us, and may just be at the beginning of their five generations as Methodists or Christians starting this Sunday with their families.
So, Mom and Dad, these people do know what it takes to change the lives of people in our community and beyond. We just need to find a way to get more people involved in all areas of leadership in and service to our church. We are working very hard on making people understand that until you get involved personally, you just cannot reap the full joy of the Lord.
I want them to know that God expects us to give until it hurts or at least until we are uncomfortable, as Pastor Rhett says; oh, and he is a pretty good guy too! Then God will give back to them so that their hurts become less, and they will feel his extraordinary presence in all they do, and then they will be in a position to help others understand and learn to feel His presence in their own lives.
God says it is hard to worry about yourself when you are serving others or the church. So, I will tell them to cast their cares upon him, his burden is easy and his yoke is light – I heard the other day that a yoke is made for two, that is because we are under one side and Jesus is under the other; the really heavy side.
Well, I know this may be longer than Pastor Debra wanted, but, who knows when I might get another chance like this again, since I guess I made it just a little more about me than she would have liked.
I’ve Gotta go, but tell Grand Daddy Case, if he doesn’t get to see church this Sunday because he is playing golf, that Chandler is going to play golf for Winthrop, so he will know that all those summers I spent playing golf have with him have finally paid off; and as Chandler told us, by attending Winthrop she will not have to change churches, he, as I, will be so proud.
And Momma, the grand kids are doing just great, and according to Face book, Jacki’s doing a really good job with them.
Let me know if you need more copies – or have suggestions, and if you don’t like it; Well Mom, I know you will, you were always my biggest fan!
I love ya’ll
Your favorite child; maybe not Daddy’s,
Please let me tell you this,
Know that we are all adopted into God’s Family, from the first day we believe,
We are all First Generation Christians – Sons and Daughters of the Living God – Brothers and Sisters in Christ adopted into his family by faith.
So if this is your first Sunday, or this is your first year attending church, or you are the first generation in your family to attend church or become a Christian, you have made a difficult, unpopular and wonderful decision and are now beginning a heritage for future generations of Christians.
And finally, remember this truth, that your life is too valuable, your calling too great and your God too awesome to waste your life on what doesn’t matter.
God Bless you all!
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Psalm 119:90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth
2 Timothy 1- 3-5
3I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.