Tina was only 40 years old when she died this week. She had a difficult life with drug addiction. In the past 16 months I've buried her great uncle, Wilie; her great aunt, Adeline; Her mother, Yvonne; and her grandfather, Bert. Her great aunt Ella also passed away early this year. This family has been visited a great many losses.
I was able to talk with Tina and help walk her through the Law and the Gospel, to understand the grace of God in Christ. Her aunt, Karen, was able to share this with her more as Tina's body was failing due to Hepatitis.
Both Karen and I trust the confession of faith that Tina made to each of us. It may be very difficult for people who didn't have these conversations with her to think of her as being forgiven. After all, she didn't lead an exemplary life. But what could we say about the thief on the cross next to Christ? Did he have time to do anything to make up for his life? No. It is faith in the forgiveness of Christ alone that justifies before God.
Please keep Tina's family in your prayers. I led a memorial service for her at the funeral home in Thief River on Saturday.
The previous Thursday I had visits and had to cut them short a bit because of a gluten reaction. I think it was gluten in the smoke from the deep fry that did me in. Clara and Sophie came with me on the visits. Of course, where we stopped they were given way way too much candy.
Friday was double sermon prep: one for the regular services on Saturday and Sunday, and one for Tina's memorial service.
Saturday we had worship and Saturday School at Mt. Olive. The kids in Sat. School were eager for me to stop shaking the hands after church so they could show me something.
After I put my robe away they all quickly lined up by the rail and told me they had memorized the first verse of Holy Holy Holy this week. Then they sang it. It was great. They said that they were sorry they didn't get the second one memorized and asked me to help them with the difficult words.
Pastors and Sunday School teachers, how often does this happen? Wow. It was great. Good job girls!
Saturday before noon I went up to TR for the memorial service at 1pm. I got home about 3:30 or so.
I totally forgot about Confirmation class with my autistic student. Drat! But we rescheduled for Sunday evening.
At home on saturday, John (4 years old) was studying up on how to play and win at Chess. Look out Uncle Dave! He's catching on.
Sunday we had worship at St. Petri-with several visitors. The sunday school kids sang wonderfully at Oak Park for the opening hymn. And I got to Oak park late and Nazareth even later.
What was the problem, mainly I didn't have enough prep time to make my sermon shorter. It was about 22 minutes long. I know the old Norwegian pastors could preach for 45 minutes or so. But I'm not an old Norwegian pastor (yet). But for the most part, everyone seemed to do fine keeping awake and following the distinctions the Scripture makes between the suffering we cause to ourselves by sinning; the suffering that comes upon us not because we sin, but because we are sinful; and the cross laid on us because we bear the name and word of Christ as Christians.
I didn't get home til 1pm.
I slept a bit in the afternoon. And later on I went out to do some target practice with my .22 revolver. I inherited this pistol from my brother when he died. So I do think of it as a special memento. It's a Taurus 94B.
Over the years up here we've used it at the Clearwater Youthgroup Annual Shootout. I suppose 3,000 plus rounds have gone through it in the last 5 years.
I shot probably around 90 rounds today, then it broke.
It didn't explode or break in a dangerous way. The transfer bar broke off at its base, and it could no longer fire.
I'll have to send it back to Taurus for repair. According to their warranty they will fix it for free. We'll see. I hope so.
It's been a good revolver.
I went over to Confirmation class at 7pm for about 2 hours of discussion with my student and his parents. On the way home I saw that the burning was taking place.
Every spring the prairie burns. Two weeks ago it was burning over by the Reservation. Lately the burning has been going on in our area.
These are controlled fires set to get rid of brush and built up grasses in the ditches and on the fields. Sometimes there are firebugs that go around burning land and causing problems. But for the most part everything is in control.
The kids were mesmerized by it and wanted to watch the fire rather than go to bed. This fire is about a mile away from our house along a ditch line on the north side of the Clearwater River.
Tomorrow we sign our taxes and I take my Taurus to a dealer so they can send it to the factory for the "free" repair.