31 July 2023

Ah, enjoying the peace and quiet!

A week ago Sunday we had all the family here at the house, save for Dean (Pr. Herberts). So that’s twelve grandchildren, Lauren, David and Meaghan, Bekah and Andy and Opa. It was a lot of fun, and a bustle of activity. 

Monday, we usually watch the Weedon grandchildren, but Bekah also came up with Kloe and Emmett, so five grandchildren enjoying the pool and such. 

Tuesday was relatively quiet day. I think we even got in some cards with Opa in the evening. 

Wednesday, the kitchen drain decided to stop. The plumber arrived and got it unclogged with his snake, just about the same time Larry and Karen dropped off the Weedon grandkids to stay with us while David and Meaghan were on a trip to the Dominican Republic. 

Thursday, Bekah came up again with Kloe later in the day. Poor Lydia expected her cousin early, but they didn’t get here till just before sunset. She waited patiently most of the day, but definitely grew impatient by about 6 p.m.! Kloe stayed the night here with the Weedon cousins. 

Friday, Cindi rounded up all the kids and dropped them off at Rebekah’s so that we could get things ready for the Yow’s visit. David, Laura, Evangeline, Elenor, Isabel and Marianna arrived that evening for the weekend. Was absolutely wonderful to catch up with them again. 

Saturday, Cindi fetched the Weedon grandkids back here, and the Weedon and Yow children played hard and long. The storm on Saturday night though, aside from making us loose power from 4:40 p.m. till sometime after midnight, blew a baby bird into the pool. The children insisted it be fished out and attempted to swaddle and care for it; but it didn’t make it. I served solo at Church on Saturday evening and we did fine with no power and only the music we could make with our voices. After we put the children to bed and said prayers and sang, we sat in the living room with the doors and window open and candles burning on the mantel and had a wonderful discussion with David and Laura. We went to bed, on pins and needles about when the power would come back on. I was wondering if I’d have to get the generator up and running before doing Church. Fortunately, that proved to be unnecessary. When the lights came back in the middle of the night, Cindi and I closed up and turned everything off and FINALLY were able to fall to sleep.

Sunday morning I was again serving solo at Church. We have a ton of pastors at St. Paul’s, but Pastor Gleason was filling in for a friend at the Convention and almost all the others are AT the Convention up in Milwaukee. Despite having so many away, we still had a bumper crowd, especially at the late liturgy. Home to have brunch with Yows and our Weedon grandkids. They got some time in the pool. I watched the Synod elections for the vice-presidents, and was overjoyed when our senior pastor, Pr. Benjamin T. Ball, was not only re-elected but even moved up to the second Vice-President slot. After the Yows departed, we got together quick a meal for Lydia, Henry and Oliver, and then Cindi ran them home, picking up the baby-sitter (thank you, Eva Maria!) along the way. David and Meaghan got in sometime after midnight.

Thus, after all the hubbub, we are back to our delightfully quiet and tidy empty nest and appreciating anew the calm and the silence and the order. Make no mistake, it’s always beyond wonderful when the grandchildren arrive; but then it is also beyond wonderful when the silence returns, especially after such a jam-packed week. I’m so glad that Jeff and Todd are also up at the Convention so that I don’t have to do an Issues show this afternoon! 

16 July 2023

A crazy, wonderful, joyous day

The usual St. Paul joys of Divine Service (I assisted at early) and then Bible Class. Then during late service, Cindi and I got set up and the food ready for a joint birthday celebration for Opa (86) and David (35). The feast included: pork steaks, hotdogs, hamburgers, baked beans, deviled eggs, cheeses, pork rinds and home made dip, zucchini bread (thanks, Lois!), a jello salad and cherry-peach pie (thanks, Andy and Bekah!), and homemade ice cream. But we made everyone eat in a hurry and scoot! Kloe and Lydia were due at Camp Wartburg at 2, and WE were off to the ordination and installation of Pastor Gunnar Gregory Campbell at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. It was a packed church with an outstanding homily by Pr. Jason Braaten. St. Paul’s had quite a contingent drive the two hours south for the service. It was so good to hear Pr. Campbell chant the liturgy. I know the people of Christ, Jacob were blessed by Pr. Kettner and Alice, and I am certain they will come to treasure Pr. Campbell and Bethany too. Many years, my friend, many years!


07 July 2023

Happy birthday, Mom!

Well, mom, it’s your106th birthday today. Next year it will be thirty years since you left this vale of tears. It’s crazy how I still imagine, around the holidays particularly, welcoming you and daddy to our home. The rocking chair is all ready for you! How I wish I could see you rocking in it, and waving your towel or working your crosswords. I’d happily pull out your mom’s teapot and rustle up a good pot of Irish Breakfast tea for you, and I wouldn’t even say a word about the three heaping teaspoons of sugar you’d drop into it. But I’ll just have to wait until you welcome us to the Eternal Home. Just a note on your birthday to say that you were an amazing mom and I wish I had been a better son to you. 

A prayer upon this day seems fitting, from Wilhelm Loehe’s Seed Grains

I would remember before Thee also my parents, pastors, teachers, children, kindred and benefactors, who have gone before me in the blessed faith and are now at home with Thee. If, through Jesus Christ, my prayer finds favor in Thy sight, do Thou, in my stead, repay unto them my thanks and love, in whatever manner it be possible. 

Unto all whom I have ever pained, deceived, or caused to sin, or whom I have robbed of honor, health, or possessions, whom I can no longer ask for pardon, nor restore unto them, because they already are gone into joy and pardon of every sin—gone home to Thee—to all these, O Lord, grant good for all my evil, both now and in the day of the resurrection of the just; even as Thou knowest how, and in how far all this which I ask can be granted. 

As for myself, let me spend my remaining days in prayer, in adoration of the most holy name of Jesus, and in praise and thanksgiving for the hearing of my prayers and those of all Christian people which have ever been offered up unto Thee through Jesus Christ. Amen.

06 July 2023

A Missed Anniversary…

…I had fully intended to write up a blog post on June 13. That day marked the 50th anniversary of my Baptism, a day I can remember quite well. In June of 1973, I was twelve. I know my mom and dad came for the event, my brother Maupin also, and maybe my sister. Oswald Hoffman’s son, Paul Hoffmann, our assistant pastor at the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Wheaton, Maryland performed the Baptism. It took place right after the opening hymn, which sadly I cannot remember. It may well have been “Baptized into Thy Name Most Holy” (see below) because that’s one of the first Lutheran hymns I committed to memory. That and “Fight the Good Fight.” 

I remember being nervous about standing up and moving to the font. It was on the right side of the altar and straight ahead of where we were seated. But walking up all alone front of the congregation was a bit nerve-wracking! There were no sponsors. I can’t recall much of what Pastor Hoffman said in the liturgy, but I do remember taking off my glasses, turning my head sideways and the water flowing over me “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” 

In memory of the day (albeit a few weeks late): 

First, from the remembrance of Baptism prayer in the then current Lutheran Book of Prayer:

Lord God, I am your child.  I call you Father because you are my Father.  You named me with your own holy name even before I could speak.  You made me your own before I could move a hand to help or prevent you.  You insisted on having me even though you knew the end of my life as well as its beginning, its shame as well as its glory, its failures as well as its achievements, its bad as well as its good.

Why, Father, should I persist in resisting you?  Why should I insist on my own way instead of knowing your way of grace and love?  Why should I obey my own whims instead of letting your grace in baptism have its way with me?

Forgive me, Father, for so often wandering into a far country away from you, your forgiveness, your joy, your promises, your love in Jesus Christ.  Help me to live in the freedom of my baptism, by the faith you have given me, in the life which you daily renew by your gracious forgiveness.

I am baptized.  I belong to you, God.  Amen

And second, from that splendid Baptismal hymn:

Baptized into Thy name most holy,
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
I claim a place though weak and lowly
Among Thy saved, Thy chosen host.
Buried with Christ and dead to sin,
Thy Spirit now shall live within. 

My loving Father, Thou dost take me
To be henceforth Thy child and heir.
My faithful Savior, Thou dost make me
The fruit of all Thy sorrows share.
Thou, Holy Ghost, wilt comfort me
When darkest clouds around I see.
TLH 298:1,2

03 July 2023

Five Years Ago…

…I got a most unexpected phone call to from my youngest daughter. She called to tell me that my brother, James Maupin (Maup), had just died back in Virginia. She was rather distraught. Her cousin had let her know and she hated to be the one to break this news. But I told her then that sad as the news was, his death was hardly unexpected. He was in quite rough shape when saw him the previous month for his youngest daughter’s wedding which I was blessed to perform. He was weak, couldn’t stand for long periods of time, and just looked unhealthy. He’d been through rounds of chemo and such some years back for lung cancer. Vietnam had taken its toll on him (as on so many others). But it seems that he just had a massive coronary that July morning. He dropped dead outside, and that’s the way he would have liked it. He was living on land that had belonged to our father and grandfather before him. He left behind his wife, Nancy, two sons and a daughter, and six grandchildren. All of whom were heart-broken. As also were his oldest brother, his sister, and his younger brother. So many wonderful memories and fun time with Maupin. Amazingly, not too long ago, my cousin posted a video clip. Maupin is in it (as is my also deceased brother Joe). Maup’s got the light hair; Joe the dark. Their wives, Peggy (blond) and Nancy (dark) also show up here. They are harassing one of my Uncle’s poor sheep! 
Rest in peace, my brother!