I was eight when a Gospel quartet came to our church to sing for us. One of the young men, a very handsome man with black hair, brown eyes and a killer smile had been in a terrible car crash and had to sing sitting down with his broken and casted leg up on a chair.
When I was nine, my parents had been sent to another church, a church that had been abandoned by their very charismatic pastor who decided to take the largest part of the congregation and start another work. The big problem was that it was a church that seated one thousand people and had bills to match its size with only eighty people to bear the load, my dad was always sent to troubled churches to help them recover. My parents cooked dinners every Sunday after church to raise money, but that’s a story for another blog. When the church started recovering my dad brought on a young man who was in Seminary, he wanted to become a pastor. My dad mentored him and in his own words, “Dragged him out of bed at five in the morning, took him up to the sanctuary, our living situation is also for another time, and draped him over the altar for prayer”.
The young man with the broken leg and this young man who had come to help my dad were one and the same.
This young man was somewhat of a “germaphobe” and I had a terrible case of hay fever which caused me to sneeze constantly and the story is that as I sat in the back seat of the car delivered my great sneezes to the back of his neck! He never did let me live that down. He was courting my mother’s younger sister and a year later they married.
Now this handsome young singer and preacher had become my uncle.
He was a man of great dignity who could command the attention of any congregation with his delivery of the Word. He was also a man who was able to oversee the building of one beautiful sanctuary and then a prayer tower that the citizens of Columbus, Georgia greatly admire.
I am telling you this because I wanted to be a voice that bragged on him a little. I was able to see him last night via Face Time thanks to a cousin who called and I, with my sister and her two sons had a prayer with him. From what I was told he hadn’t opened his eyes for almost the whole day but I saw those brown eyes looking at my sister and me as we prayed for him to transition peacefully…
He did this morning at 5:15. I hope that the first persons he saw after seeing his Savior Jesus Christ was my dad and his brother who passed away this past August.
Rest in Peace James Roland Swilley, my Uncle Jimmy.