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Fifty years with Lawson: a blessing and a joy


By Mrs. Sherrill Bryan

50 years ago, I slipped and almost fell in Cathedral Caverns. Fortunately for me, “he” was there to grab my hand. We have not let go of each other since that day. We married and immediately went to work together in ministry serving United Methodist churches and, in the end, the South Georgia Conference as bishop. Words are inadequate to express the loving hospitality, support, and fun we have had with these soulful people.

Everywhere we served was a blessing and a joy. We always felt that we received far more than we gave and when the call came to move we were always sad to leave those whom we loved. I am so grateful for our son, Philip, who managed to survive and thrive through those early years. He is so well balanced, with a great job, a beautiful wife, Brittany, and yes, two amazing grandchildren, John Philip and CeCe. But now I write about this man who caught me 50 years ago.

There is something beautiful about lives of “dignity and wisdom,” “healthy faith,” and “love;” people who are “models of goodness” and “virtuous and pure;” and “lives of good character shining through action” and “God-filled, God-honoring lives” (Titus 2).

It has been my blessing and joy to have lived and served alongside one like this for nearly 50 years.

Hebrews 7:7 says, “It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.” Certainly, I am the “inferior” one, and oh how I have been blessed by the “superior” Lawson Bryan. I read that the three effects of nearness to Jesus are humility, happiness, and holiness. I can testify to that truth for it has been lived before me every day. True “holiness” is when you leave every person more alive than when you found them. Maybe that’s why when he was elected Bishop he chose “Alive Together In Christ” to be the theme around every decision and ministry undertaken.

The question was always asked: How does this make South Georgia more Alive Together In Christ?

I know that being with him has made me more “alive,” and I am eternally grateful to God for calling him into the covenant as he did when he said to Noah: “I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” (Genesis 6:18)

I’m so happy I have gotten to be in the “ark” with him! We will continue to walk side by side, and as long as there is breath in our lungs, we will climb.

“An occasional glance towards the summit will keep the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.”

Oh, look, Lawson! I see a beautiful new scene up ahead. Let’s go! I want to be with you until we reach the summit where we will live eternally. ALIVE TOGETHER IN CHRIST. AMEN.

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