Vivian and Tony
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
Note: I want to start off today by recognizing the hurt and pain that comes from marital breakdown. This devotion, in no way, undermines that or takes away from the struggles and disappointment that come from living in a less than perfect world. To those that have experienced that, you have our love and support on your journey, as your Pastor and church.
This story is about Vivian and Tony Lepore and so much more. Vivian and Tony meet in Peterborough Ontario while they both worked at the T. Eaton Company. Vivian ran the shoe department and Tony the business machine department. This was in the hay day of big department stores. They were married and lived in Peterborough for a short period of time. Tony then bought a small business, from Mr. Swab, and they set up this business in the garage of their new home at 103 Donald Street in Belleville, Ontario. Vivian was a committed housewife and Tony worked long hours to get the business off the ground. Eventually, “Hastings Business Machines” moved to downtown Bellville, the commercial hub of the city at that time.
Tony and Vivian had two children, Ralph and David, born almost seven years apart. They moved to 48 North Park Street and made their home there. One weekend, in June, after being invited to a church friend’s cottage, they packed the kids into their station wagon, hooked up their boat and headed out for a relaxing weekend. But, they never made it. They were involved in a horrific car accident that nearly took both of their lives and left them terribly impaired, health wise, for the rest of their days.
I write to tell you about Vivian and Tony, my parents, to emphasize the importance of the day to day living of your faith. Mom and Dad never said, “Hey Ralph look at us” but, through the day to day demonstrating of such dynamics as prayer, service, eternal hope and trust, they left a lasting impression and impact on me. But also, side by side with their faith, came the living dynamics of their marriage. I didn’t always appreciate it the way I should but some years later, I look back in respect, in love and in awe at what my parents modelled in their commitment to one another. It is no wonder that Jesus uses marriage as an illustration or example of His relationship with the Church. (Ephesians 5:25-27; John 3:29; Revelation 19:7 etc.).
They modelled unconditional love. They modelled lasting commitment. They modelled support and sacrifice. They modelled faithfulness. They modelled empowerment and encouragement. They modelled courage. They modelled teamwork. They modelled family values. They modelled the value of Christ and Christian community. They modelled servanthood and they modelled the value and hope of Heaven.
When I stop and think about it today, they modelled Christ's love for us and the love and dynamics we are to have for His Body, the local church. Those qualities that they exemplified are the qualities that make the church work and flourish. In these Covid 19 days, they are the qualities that, unfortunately, some churches will need to survive. In the mundane, in the shadows of day to day living, Tony and Vivian's covenant of marriage taught me much about love, living and what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Thank you, Tony and Vivian. You were the best – a lasting light that still shines daily in my life. I love and miss you and look forward to the day I shall see you again
With all my love,