Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ecclesiastical Humor and Justice

My wife's beloved Father, and my dear Father-in-law (literally - he was Lutheran Church, Missouri, died peacefully on the day he loved, Reformation. Re-formation, Schismatics Anonymous day... etc.

He was surrounded by his dear wife, Bette, with whom he had been married 66 years. Also surrounding him were four of his six children, including the one who truly loved him for the person he was and not the money he might leave them: my wife.

The funeral will be held tomorrow, November 2, the solemnity of All Souls' in the calendar of the One True Church. As I said in the header....ecclesiastical humor and Justice. But also said tongue-in-cheek. He loved Reformation and singing the metrical, rhythmical version of ein' Feste Burg ist Unser Gott. I love singing In Paradisum, deducant te angeli.

So tomorrow at the funeral, when another organist is playing (the "other" children....remember them....), at the conclusion of the liturgy, I'll be chanting away in my heart of hearts and feeble mind, the only piece that's really important: In Paradisum....

Unfortunately, but for Katie's sake, I'm going to be sitting with the family - not in the back, where I'd prefer to be. Keeping my wife comforted and happy are important to my own comfort and happiness.....

I'm thinking that some of the other hymns which might be sung tomorrow will be Oh, Worship the King (Hanover), Beautiful Savior (St. Elisabeth). There will probably be others, but I only saw the list from a distance (don't show it to the organist in the family, you know....)

I'm thrilled that the Colonel's earthly journey has ended. It was long. He was unusually healthy, had an active life, was kind and generous almost all the time (he was human, after all!). He showed his kids what it was to be a Christian gentleman. None of the boys ever caught on to that. None of the girls, except Katie, were able to translate that to Christian woman. Their mother, as well, has always given incredible examples of this way of life. As with their father, the kids, save Katie, have learned nothing from their mother, either. Katie and I will miss him incredibly.

I will also miss the great challenge of sitting next to him in the pew and following his version of the bass line of any hymn we were singing. His notes and rhythms were also good - but rarely were the ones in the hymnal. He was a true Lutheran.

After he finishes talking with Jesus and Martin Luther, I'm sure that they'll send him off to see Peter, who will in turn say, let me introduce you to our Mother - her name is Mary.

Requiescat in Pacem, Herr Colonel. Enjoy eternity 'round the throne!

your Son-in-law

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