There was a memorial at the Convention of the Missouri Synod for all the rostered church workers that had died in the last three years. It was a very moving service. The music was amazing and the preacher was Pastor Willie of the South Wisconsin District whose homily had the striking image of death gobbling up the generations. He said, ““With the passing of time death gobbles up one generation after the next: children and parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and their grandparents before them.” The he preached about the promise. “He [the Lord God] will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken” (Is. 25:7-8).
In Christ, death was swallowed up, gobbled up in victory says Paul in a Corinthian letter. Willie said, “God himself has destroyed the disgrace of death … and has replaced it with His precious gift of life.”
The names and pictures of those faithful departed were shown on the large screens organized by district and divided into four segments: the first portion was on display during the pre-service music and “Gathering Hymn”; the presentation continued during the congregational hymn “For All the Saints” and during a musical offertory of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”; and the presentation concluded later in the afternoon during the “Close of the Day” service while delegates sang the hymn, “Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones”, writes Deaconess Jeni Miller in the Lutheran Reporter online. In three years the church lost 664 rostered workers. That means Pastors, teachers, deaconesses, missionaries etc who died in the last years and all the history and talent and memory lost to us.
Among the names were Gary Buss who I have written about on this blog. Our own Dean Hartley and Glen Korb and Dale Young. Also two other names struck me pretty hard. One was Louis Eberhard. The other was Myron Wackler. More on them later.