LINEBORO — For 50 years, Curvin Weaver has studied the Bible and taught it to others. Yet what remains ingrained in the memory of the Sunday School teacher at Lazarus United Church of Christ are words his mother uttered to him some 70 years ago.
"Humans are the only creatures that can think and understand. So we will be either the best or worst of God's creation."
And whether he is teaching or performing music or helping others,Weaver, 74, has worked hard to be among the best.
"It has been the most joyful part of my life to present the Gospel and keep the interest of young people," said Weaver, who teaches about 10 young adultsevery other Sunday at the church. Lazarus is part of a three-church parish that includes St. Mark's in Snydersburg and Trinity in Manchester.
Even after 50 years of Bible study, he hardly claims to know it all.
"It is impossible to probe the depth of Scripture," Weaversays. "The more you study, the more you realize what you don't know."
Life has slowed for Weaver and his wife, Annie, 71, who keeps their tidy home atop a hill in Glen Rock, Pa. Her needlework graces every room of the house, which the couple has occupied since they married in 1948.
Weaver firmly believes that "life has no value without Jesus Christ." Among his favorite Bible verses is John 3:16, which says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
It was 74 years ago that identical twin sons, each weighing less than 3 pounds, were born to Annie and Alf Weaver.
Curvin grew up on a Grave Run Road farm first owned by his grandfather, Charles C. Weaver, a carpenter by trade, and grandmother, Sarah. It was on the 40-acre farm, just south of the Pennsylvania line, that Curvin's parents began imparting the traditional values of industriousness and religious faith to their five sons.
Weaver, the younger of the twins, recalls making the 3-mile trip to the church as a 10-year-old boy in his older brother's car.
For the Weavers, life was simple, though it was not without hardship. In era predating modern medical technology, the firstborn twin, Melvin, died at age 14 after several attacks of appendicitis.
As a boy, Curvin worked on the family farm. Later he worked for a neighboring farmer, George Armstrong, for about $1 a day during the Depression.
"After seventh grade, the principal wanted me to continue my education, but it was 3 miles to the high school in Manchester," he said. Unable to attend high school, Weaver continued to work Armstrong's farm.
Then, one day, something happened that changed Weaver's life. Armstrong, who taught a Sunday School class of 10 teen-age boys at Lazarus Church, turned to Weaver and said, "Curvin, you could do this."
"I'll try," the 18-year-old replied and began fulfilling a lifetime avocation.
Teaching the Bible was only one of Weaver's gifts. Neither of his parents were musically inclined, but Weaver discovered his musical talent on a guitar his older brother, Ira, bought.
"We owned a piano, and Mother wanted me to learn to play it," he says. "But, at 15, we know more than our parents."
Weaver taught himself by listening to records and trying to play what he heard.
"I could figure out the mathematics of music," he says.
After learning guitar, Weaver took up piano, organ, accordion, banjo and steel guitar. When a music teacher offered $1 an hour to help teach her four students, he quickly agreed.
Weaver later studied piano for six years with J. Herbert Springer, a well-known teacher at the time in New Oxford, Pa.
Then at age 28, after yearsof working on the farm, Weaver became a full-time music instructor. At times he taught 95 students a week.
The musical talent in the Weaver family didn't stop with Curvin. In later years, he and his fourchildren presented concerts at church and at community events in York County, Pa., and in Carroll County.
The boys, Melvin and George,played saxophone and trumpet. The girls, Elaine and Rosalie, accompanied on piano. And the whole group teamed up to sing such favorites as "The Light of the World Is Jesus" and "Amazing Grace."
The Weavers treasure these memories, as well as tape recordings of their children performing.
The children are grown now and lead lives of their own: Elaine Jones, 40, a former music teacher, lives in New Jersey; Melvin, 39, an Air Force officer, serves in Korea; George, 37, a brick mason, lives in Glen Rock; and Rosalie Hitchinson, 36, is a secretary in Harrisburg, Pa.
The Weavers have eight grandchildren.
Weaver retired from teaching music in 1983, but he still visits about six nursing homes each month and gives musical performances.
With his music and Bible teaching, Weaver continues to present an inspiring message.
"While you cannot change many things, if you do not care,you as a person do not amount to much," he says. "Life has been good to me. I want to give that back to the old folks. I've not asked for anything, but gotten everything."