My friend, Howard, turned 100 on Tuesday. Howard is this incredible man who is a member of our congregation. For the last three years, I have had the amazing privilege of being his pastor. Two years ago, Howard brought me a book. He told me I could be the best preacher ever if I took time to read the book. The book, published in 1942, is titled, "Training the Speaking Voice." Howard swears that I have read the book - but what I have really done is to listen to his request to slow down when I am preaching.
We have new chairs in our new chapel at the church. Half of them have arms in them because of Howard. It was Howard who reminded me that "old people need arms" in order to stand.
Howard has also taught me about generosity. He loves supporting the least and the lost. He loves sharing what he has with others in order to make this world a brighter and better place.
Howard loves the church, and he loves God. He makes me laugh often. When I saw him in the hospital last month, I asked him if there was anything I could do for him. He responded, "You can feed me like a baby." I tried my best to feed him spaghetti without getting it all over the hospital bed.
When I asked Howard what his prayer request was on Tuesday he replied, "I am tired. I am worn. I need my underpinnings to work." His body is tired and he desperately wants to keep walking. But Howard is far from tired. He is really quite remarkable. He represents one of the many blessings at Mount Vernon Place and he is one of the many reasons why I love being the pastor at this place.
Thank you for your faithfulness, Howard. Happy 100th Birthday! May you live until you are 110 since you think that "turning 100 is no longer impressive since so many other people are doing it."