Thursday, August 11, 2016

We will remember. . .

At the 66th Regular Convention of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod we enjoyed stellar worship from the Lutheran Service Book led by wonderful musicians and singers with solidly orthodox and dynamic preaching.  All the credit goes to Chaplain Weedon and his crew.  But there was one moment that was deeply profound and powerful.

Wednesday of the Convention week we had a mid-day service of remembrance and commemoration, recalling the faithful servants of the Lord who had died since the last Convention and who now rest from their labors.  As the pictures and names scrolled the giant screens we heard Samuel L. Barber's Adagio for Strings with the words to the Agnus Dei.  I could not contain my tears.  I watched the screen and then spent some time later in the afternoon reading over the list of names again and again.

From first district.. Atlantic... Walter Baepler, David Born, Richard Johnson, Gordon Johnston, Eric Rieker, Paul Schulze, and Paul Wildgrube... among others.

From the districts... those whom I knew and many counted as friends... Tom Hahnsen, Lowell Green, Arnie Kromphardt, John Molitoris, Dan Brockopp, John Buchheimer, Willie Hasshold, Paul Koepchen, Vic Mennicke, Milton Nauss, Mark Wessling, Richard Muller, Rick Rickus, Warren Wilbert, Walter Resner, David Eberhard, Erich von Fange, Paul Zimmermann, Klemet Preus, Steven Benke, BZ Biesenthal, Louis Brighton, Ron Feuerhahn, Earl Gaulke, Otto Hintze, Bob Sauer, Mel Witt, Art Bangert, Martin Russert, Gary Trowbridge, James Keurulainen, Bill Wild, Don Buuck, Mert Hendricks, Hank Schroeder, Charles Manske, Marvin Dumler, Eric Helge, Orville Krohn (my dad's cousin), Murray Martin, Milton Ernstmeyer, Ron Fink (my first and best bishop), George Finsterle (my vicarage supervisor), Paul Ludwig, Norm Temme, Lee Maxwell...  these were the names I could write down as the screen went by...

And from my district now... Mid-South... Richard Behnke, Bill Childress (whom I buried), Jack McWhirter... among others...

Wow.  A chunk of my life within those names.  Time like an ever rolling stream bears all its sons away;they fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day. . . where it would all end were it not for the God who rescued us from sin and its death, raised us to new life in Christ, and gave us everlasting life.  

For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confess,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old
And win with them the victor's crown of gold.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
O blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of Glory passes on His way.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest.
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

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