Monday, February 26, 2007

In Memoriam: C.E. Mannon

There are so many things I want to share with you today. I want to tell you about our trip to Cayucos: the surf, the scenery of Highway One, the tour of Hearst Castle, the ideally quaint setting of Cayucos. Mandy and I had a blast and the central coast was as good as advertised.

And frankly, I thought I preached with some added zest and fervor yesterday, didn't you? Maybe a trip to the coast about, oh, once a month would be the perfect prescription!

But the trip recap will have to wait a day.

I also wanted to tell you about last evening's assembly. It's happened several times before that the electricity has gone out in the middle of my sermon (as it did last night). What made last night different was the fact that when the power came back, the sight and smell of smoke near the speaker well was evident.

The building was vacated. The Fresno Fire Department was called. Thankfully, the building didn't catch fire, but the general consensus was last night's sermon was "Smokin'!" Again, further evidence, to me, that a monthly getaway to the central coast might be ideal.

The pictures and tale of last night's ordeal, though, will have to wait as well.


Today, in the hills of Southwestern Virginia, my mentor will bury his father. Last month, I asked you to remember in your prayers C.E. Mannon, father of my friend and mentor, Dale Mannon, who's health was failing. On Friday, Mr. Mannon lost the battle for his health, but won the war by his faith.

Mr. Mannon was a farmer, a teacher, a school counselor, and a preacher, having preached for over 40 years. He loved children and he loved God.

My fondest memory of Mr. Mannon, aside from Dale's uncanny imitations of his dad, is of a visit Dale, his wife Lauri, infant son Jedidiah, and myself took one summer while I was interning with Dale in West Virginia. One Sunday night following church, we made the jaunt south on I-64 to the Mannon homestead in Floyd for a visit with Dale's parents. I'll never forget the "tongue-lashing" ole Dad gave to Dale when we arrived! Dale and Lauri had two cars, a brand new car and a older model Honda. Dale, not wanting to run up the miles on his new car, decided we'd take the older-model Honda. After we arrived and pleasantries were exchanged, Mr. Mannon immediately began to dress-down his son for failing to use the new car.

"Son, don't ever put your family in your worst vehicle. It could break down. You could get stranded on the side of the highway. Whenever you travel with your family, always be sure you travel in your best vehicle!"

I've never forgotten that.

On our trip, we tended to the livestock on the Mannon ranch. We visited. I listened and I learned, not that Mr. Mannon was perfect, but that he was a man who loved God and his family. It was pure joy last month to be with Dale in Lubbock and to spend time listening to him recount the influence of his father and his faith.

Today, my friend Dale has the unenviable task of paying tribute to the life of his father. I ask that you remember the Mannon family today in your prayers, giving thanks to God that he provides for us, in our moments of grief, victory through Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15.57).