[cincopa AsPA3taogHI5] 

 In the last few weeks visiting with Pastors in Minnesota North and in North Dakota I have been struck by the effect of losing long time time members to eternity.  There is of course the hope of the grand reunion in everlasting life, but there is also the void that can’t really be filled by that loss, especially for Pastors that have been in that parish a long time.  One Pastor from MN North wrote an email saying that when “grandma (you supply the name) died the church lost it’s historian, two families lost their matriarch and I lost a friend and mentor”.  That is powerful stuff.  Add to that the uncomfortable recognition that these elderly saints were the age you are now when you came to the parish, and you can get a sense of the loss that Pastors feel. not just of these friends, but of their own youth.  It causes one to ponder the “rapid flight of our days”.

Well, in the last few weeks I have lost two of those grandma, mentors and friends.  Amy Schumacher of Drayton and Frankie (Francis) Schulz of Crystal.  Both of these women exemplified the Christian virtues that Paul writes about in his letters.  Both led lives where it was obvious to all they met that “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy”–they thought about such things (Phil 4:8).  Both unhesitatingly gave witness to the hope that they had and that hope was the doing and dying of Jesus. 

When ever I think about these two a song I wrote keeps popping into my mind.  It comes from a rather strange citation from the Song of Solomon – “He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love”.  Song of Solomon 2:4.

These women lived lives that trusted in the grace of God in Christ for everything they needed in this world and the next.  For all the Pastors and everyone else that has had someone like this that graced your life, thank God for their influence, their witness and your memories of them.