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The preacher who learned not to show up late
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There’s an old saying that some people would be late for their own funerals. I guess I may be one of those people, since I only got to my own wedding 10 minutes before it was to start (hey — it wasn’t my fault that a bowl game was going on and I didn’t know it would take so long to put on a tuxedo.)

However, if there is anything I have learned in ministry, it is that senior adults are not late. They are early. Once when I was a pastor in Mississippi, I took a group of senior adults on a trip to see Natchez. I told them to meet me at the church van at 9:30 a.m. the next morning. When I got to the van at 9:20 a.m., they were all on the van waiting for me, wondering why I was so late.

A few years ago I was invited to eat out with our senior adult group here in Rincon. Our senior adult director called and asked if I’d like to join them on a Saturday afternoon trip to eat in Statesboro. Since food was involved, it was a no-brainer. I said, “What time do I meet you?” We were to leave at 4 p.m. I decided to dress nice in khaki slacks, turtleneck shirt and sport coat. And I made sure to arrive around 3:30 p.m. so I wouldn’t be left behind.

At about 4 p.m. we had already left Rincon and were nearly at Springfield, when I got a call from my wife. Her frantic voice said, “Did you forget the wedding?”

Now before you envision an organist playing 50 verses of the wedding march while the bride and groom are feeling jilted by the preacher, let me explain. The wedding was not at the church. It was an informal home wedding. There had not been a rehearsal, and it had slipped my mind. Nevertheless, I was supposed to be there at 4 p.m. that Saturday. I rushed to the bus driver and gently screamed, “You’ve got to turn this bus around and take me back to Rincon!”

I have never had a more understanding, sympathetic group of people than that group of senior adults. They all said, “We understand about forgetting things.” They dropped me off at the church so I could get my wedding ceremony book. At least I was already dressed nice enough to go straight to the couple’s home. As the senior adult group drove off, they all waved, and a few said, “Poor Brother Bob.” I think they were afraid I was going to be the “late Pastor Rogers.”

When I arrived at the home out of breath, the bride opened the door with a wide smile. We went ahead with the ceremony, about a half hour late, and everything was fine. The bride and groom even gave me a gift — a calendar with a picture of us doing the wedding, and on the date of their wedding were these words written in ink: “Wedding 4 p.m.”

Aren’t you glad that God is never late? When Christ died on the cross, the disciples thought it was too late for Jesus. Little did they know that He would rise again. Sometimes it seems like He’s late, but He’s always on time.

Copyright 2007 by Bob Rogers. Read this column each Thursday for a mix of religion and humor. You can read more “Holy Humor” on the Web page of First Baptist Church of Rincon at