Monday, January 19, 2009

On The Road to The Wedding Feast

The Permanent Deacon's ministry often involves the grieving process. Sometimes it is my Parish that is grieving, sometimes it is the community where I live and some times it is a special group that grieves.

Tommorrow my parish celebrates the funeral of a long time parishoner whose life appeared unremarkable to most but which in fact sparkled in our small parish in a small rural community in the midwest. Guerneth was a widow for many years and maintained her own home until she was over 8o years old. Her sparkle I think had its genesis in her love of the Eucharist. For over thirty years (Some say 40) she was the Sacristan for our parish. In this office she prepared the altar for the divine worship of the Mass, setting out the vessels, the liturgical clothes, the wine the bread and the water to be used in the Lord's Supper. Clearly her physical service was a sacramental sign of her love for Jesus who responded with his presence in his word and daily bread and wine of the Mass.

As is often true of those in love she seemed to have a baseline joy about her. At the mere mention of a party or celebration she was ready to help pull it off and of course be in on the fun. I suspect that a saint with her skill and enthusiasm will be in high demand for the Wedding feast of the Lamb.

One of the joys I have as a retired businessman, a seasonal business owner and a part time clergyman is to serve as a backup schoolbus driver during the school year. The community of schoolbus drivers, mechanics and schedulers dedicated to the safe transportation of our children are indeed a special group. They have a cultural aspect in as much as their their twice a day pre-route gatherings also serve as an informal community bulletin board. As is often the case in small groups, the senior member is especially revered. Sometimes it is his or her wisdom, humor or knowledge. In the case of Elwin it was all of these and more.

His love of Christ also was evident in his service to his Lutheran parish serving in many parish offices. His dedication to mentoring young men and women preparing for confirmation was a quiet but impressive ministry. One way his joy was manefest was in his adult pep band that played at local sports events. Elwin played the trombone and he safely transported students between home and school for fifty one years. I am not sure which will be more important, playing in the heavenly pep band or driving saints to the Wedding Feast.

May your joy in the Lord speed both of you on your way to the throne.

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