I wrote this about Howard Jording back in 2012 after I found out he had died. Now I have heard that Lucia is hospitalized and getting ready to meet her Lord
One of the first people I met when I moved to Grafton North Dakota was Rev. Howard Jording. Pastor Jording was serving the vacancy at Trinity Lutheran Church in Drayton, while Pastor Victor Tegtmeier served the vacancy at Zion in Grafton. Pastor Jording was the preacher at my installation at Trinity and he took the time to drive me around to different places to meet different people who lived out in the countryside.
I don’t think it’s too much to say that the preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessing to him as Lord and Savior literally was Howard’s life. I know he loved his family and I know he loved his wife, but his life was the proclamation of Christ. I was doing a presentation in Ortonville Minnesota and who came shambling in the door of the church basement but Dr. Jording and his wife Lucia: long since retired. Why was he there? He had taken the vacancy and was serving that congregation until they got a full-time pastor. This was well into his retirement years and has always served as an example to me that “old preachers never die they just change venues”. I remember that wicked sense of humor in a parody song that he had either written, or found somewhere. It was sung to the tune of “Rhinestone Cowboy”. It was called “Worn Out Preacher”. The refrain partially was “I’m a worn-out preacher riding back and forth on these Lonesome Prairie Roads.” He spent a lot of time on those lonesome prairie roads. I do too and I appreciate the time that allows me to contemplate God’s mercy and grace, the marvelous gift of salvation we have in Jesus. I thank God that that worn-out preacher had ample time to contemplate God’s mercy and grace in his life and the blessing that he was to others.
Lucia was, in my memory at least, a force to be reckoned with in her own right as a nurse and mother. My guess is that still is and being a nurse herself I am sure that she is patient and kind to those who care for her. She is also someone who makes her opinions known and is not afraid to speak her mind on issues and to witness to her faith.
She traveled with Howard in his peregrinations until she couldn’t leave the house anymore. She called him Howie. I wanted to but could never bring myself to that point. She had a pretty good sense of humor herself. I remember that Howard was the master of ceremonies at a banquet somewhere and he had dusted off an old bit about a preacher, trying to preach about the “peesal tree”. Of course the whole point of the story is that the preacher is trying to explain about the musical instrument we hear about in verses like Psalms 33:2 “
Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltry and
an instrument of ten strings”. The humor comes from the confused preacher trying to explain how people can sing with a tree and why it is important. The problem was that the folks at the banquet never got the connection between the musical instrument in the Psalms and the preachers misunderstanding of what he was talking about and so the whole “shtick”, as the old stand up guys used to say, was going badly. I witnessed a great reversal that day. The comedian was having a great time and the audience was breaking out in a flop sweat. I was at the same table as Lucia and I gave her a sympathetic glance. She said something that I think about from time to time – “One thing about Howie; he is not one to give up on a bit”. Just so.
I don’t think Lucia is one to “give up on a bit either” but there is a recognition that all of us must come to someday that God is calling us home and the stuff that others want us to do or undergo has crossed the line and become an idolatry of technology. Lucia is a nurse and gets it. Lucia’s witness to me was always that of someone who had a rock solid trust in Christ. Lucia is one who knows in whom she has trusted and believed and is certain that he is able to keep that which she has given into his care till that day when He calls her to life everlasting. Please pray for her and her family.She is now in the Palliative Unit of Sanford Health in Fargo.