Sunday, October 05, 2008

Birthday, two deaths, and a Baptism

We celebrated John's birthday on the 26th of September. He was born at the same time my brother died in an accident while repairing an automobile.

John loves automobiles, just like my brother, Jeremy, loved them.

If I might repeat myself, while we were driving in Thief River Falls we were behind a diesel fueled pickup truck that put out a lot of smoke. At the stoplight John exclaimed "What is that smell, that really, really good smell!"

We consider ourselves so blessed by God to have 9 children and one on the way--expected to arrive in early December. We don't have a name yet for the new arrival. Just as long as the name of our child honors Scripture, our families' heritage, and doesn't make a faux-pas with regard to the new arrival's initials or name.

Thank You, God for letting us have John with us through these years. Please grant to us many years of growing together in Your Word.

On the last Saturday of September Oak Park hosted the Northern Circuit Women's Guild meeting. Pr. David Thompson presented on the topic of World-Views and how those world-views might influence the way we and our children think in ways contrary to Scripture.

I taught on the topic of Lutheran History in the United States and the root causes and reasons as to why there are so many different kinds of Lutherans today.

Sometime during these days we found a small tree frog. Clara held it for me to photograph. It is beyond my imagination how God can make a creature so complete and so small. Evolution, and the theories and science espousing Naturalism cannot begin to explain such beauty and complexity. It can only appeal to random chance and refer to time immeasurable for the random likelihood that such a creature could be developed. These appeals to time and random chance are false hopes for people who desire that God does not exist, that they are not guilty before God's Law, and who hope that there is no such thing as the resurrection of the flesh and Judgment day.

I held a funeral for Patty Good this past week. The Good family has had 6 funerals in 18 months: Willie, Bert, Ella, Yvonne, Tina, and Patty. I have served 5 of those 6 funerals. I and my familly have been here for 7 years now. Funerals become harder and harder for me when someone I have known for a long time dies.

Nancy T. died this week. Her husband, Gene, called me within minutes of her death. I was able to be with Gene and his children at Gene's home in a few minutes. Last May (I think it was) I announce that Nancy had first started playing organ for worship at Oak Park 50 years ago. Gene's birthday was a few days before his beloved bride died of cancer.

I can't count the number of times Nancy and I had together while driving from one church service to another. Remember. I have 4 congregations, three of which I serve with the Divine Service on Sunday. Nancy and I had a lot of time to talk with each other, and to know each other's problems.

When I first arrived in this parish I was faced with 13 funerals in my first year of service. Over the years the funerals have become harder and harder.

It's not because I doubt God's promise of forgiveness in Christ or the resurrection to eternal life. I know an have a deep trust that these are true simply because God says so in His Word.

The reason the deaths have become harder is that I have come to know and love these members of my congregations as my own family and close friends.

Nancy's funeral will be on Tuesday. It will be hard for me to speak. But I will. Nancy had a very clear plan for her funeral. She had given it to me almost 5 weeks before she passed away. I am very happy with that. It means I can focus on the message and not on the other things which can distract from God's Word during a funeral.

Now, on a different subject which is based in the same Grace of God in Christ: Today I was given the privilege of Baptizing Carter H. If you look back in the posts in this blog you can figure out who Carter is.

On this same day we celebrated the birthday of his older brother Clancy. I baptized Clancy three years ago.

Please keep all those whom I have mentioned in your prayers. Please include Gloria R. whose osteoporosis prevents her from having a pain-free life from now until her resurrection.

There is a lot more news. But I have been too busy to have time to sit down and write in this blog.

Thank you, all of you who read this blog and keep me and my congregation's in your prayerss.

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