The next few days is all about memories. All Saints Day was yesterday, but we will celebrate it, and use that as the theme of our worship this Sunday, November 4. It is the Sunday when we remember our blessed dead and those who have gone before us in the faith. A portion of the prayer will be “ in the full expectation of the resurrection to life eternal, we remember before our Lord those of our family and friends who have gone before us in the faith, and all those who are in our hearts and minds this day“. We then read their names and for churches that have a bell, we ring that bell for each name. We continue, “almighty God we remember with Thanksgiving those who have loved and served you in your church on earth and who now rest from their labors. Keep us in fellowship with all your Saints for Jesus sake we pray amen.
Here is some memory. I remember a little girl and her brother running through the woods on the banks of the Missouri River outside of Bismarck North Dakota. It was late in the summer of 1978 and I was there for the new pastor orientation. We met at Zion Lutheran Church and I still remember President Reimnitz devotion. He talked about how Jesus told the disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem after His resurrection. He talked about how we pastors in North Dakota, would be prairie pastors. He talked about the windshield time driving down lonely prairie roads and driving far from home to make hospital visits. He talked about those times as chances for us to wait on the Lord so that he could give us a measure of that same Spirit that fell on the disciples so we could faithfully preach Christ’s word.
Back to the children. Reverent Norman Sensebaugh was the District Executive Director at that time. He and his wife had four children and my recollection is that two of them came down for the picnic that we had on the banks of the Missouri
for orientation. I remember getting my fishing stuff out, and a little boy Joel, knocking my tacklebox in to the river. I was able to save most of it but I remember the little girls name was Rhoda. There are two other children Rachel and David but
I don’t remember them being there. I don’t remember their mother Dottie being there either but I got to know her over the years when we worked together with the LWML.
So that is my memory of Rhoda , a little girl running through the woods by a river. The little girl grew up and went to school and became an attorney. She married Frank Tenuta. She went to Sioux City Iowa and made such an impression on that town, and they have built this statue in memory of her when she died at the age of 47, remembering the work she did for victims of sexual assault. She was a strong advocate and her memory lives on in that community and their recognition of her.