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Rosie Grace
Our dear little Rosalie Grace has arrived!  She is the first little one for Seth and Joy and was welcomed out into the world on Monday, March 9, at 3:14 p.m.!  She was 21″ long and weighed 8# 9 oz.  She is our sweet little rosebud, come just on the cusp of spring!

Sweet little Rosie Grace, may grace be upon you all of your days.  We pray that you will know the grace of your particular calling at an early age as God draws you near to his heart and that grace abounding to you and through you will be the hallmark of your life.

Christiana Lois, March 4

We are blessed to announce the arrival of our dear little bundle- Christiana Lois Jacobson!  She is the fifth such package Ashley and Andrew have received and so is welcomed by three brothers and a sister too.  She arrived Monday, March 2 (after we all held our breath through Leap Year Day), at 5:08 p.m.  She was 21″ and weighed 7# 14oz.

Little Christiana is named for the heroine of John Bunyan’s A Pilgrim’s Progress, part II.  In the shadow of her humble, homey life, she leads her children on the way of the King toward the Celestial City.  Christiana, we pray this for you always… that you will hear the King’s voice at an early age and will walk sure and steadily toward his Kingdom and that God would make you a bringer of pilgrims, helping many along the path to the King.

We’re so happy to welcome our newest family member, little Lena Charis, born to Bryce and Caroline, Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019, at 8:25a.m., measuring 20.5″ and 8lb 6oz.

Charis is Greek for “grace” and this is our pray for you, little Lena – that you will know God’s grace in bringing you to Himself, that He will grace you to see his goodness of God in the land of the living, and that a grace of spirit will shine forth to the glory of God.

Welcome!

A Generation Past

From L to R:
Franklin “Frank,” #3, and Vera (Gunst) Young;
Lois (McIntyre) and Roland “Rol,” #4;
Richard “Dick,” #2, and Deloris (Butenhoff);
and Vera (Young), #1, and Pete Soberg

 

 

The generation born to Herbert and Alta (Volkenant) Young and their spouses have passed from time into eternity.  What a blessed heritage for those of us who remain.

Vera Rose Young, 99, (formerly of Grand Forks) died on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at her home in Eagan, MN.

Vera Rose Gunst was born to August and Rose (nee Zimbelman) Gunst on December 10, 1919 in Medina, North Dakota. Baptized into the Christian faith on October 31, 1920, she confirmed her baptismal vows on July 5, 1936 at the Evangelical Church in Streeter, ND. Vera was the eldest of two daughters born to Germans from Russia immigrants, and attended country school in Medina, where she learned to speak English. She graduated from Medina High School in 1938. On September 26, 2019 at age 99, Vera received the gift of eternal life through faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She died at her home in Eagan, MN, under the care of Fairview Hospice, surrounded by her loving family.

Vera’s childhood was spent helping work the Medina family farm. The obligations of rural life during the Great Depression helped shape her strong work ethic and fuel her determination to lead a productive life. Following graduation she came to Grand Forks and attended Union Commercial College, helping her secure her first job— stenographer at Eddy’s Bakery. She later was bookkeeper for several Grand Forks businesses.

Vera met her future husband and the love of her life “singing in the church choir”. On November 19, 1944, she then married Benjamin F. (Frank) Young in Grand Forks, where they made their home. She was thrilled to become a mother, welcoming their only child, Susan, nine years later. As a couple, Vera and Frank partook in numerous adventures; in the early years it was summers at Maple Lake near Mentor, MN enjoying one of the two cabins they built there. Then interests shifted to the East Grand Forks hobby farm to which they moved in 1965, which also provided space to expand their many hobbies. Antique collecting became their passion.

Vera’s faith was her life compass, proven by the well-worn pages of her Bible. That faith fostered a natural desire to be active in church life, starting at the Evangelical United Brethren Church on Belmont Road. She was a member of several congregations through the years and enjoyed serving on committees, church council, and participating eagerly in women’s activities. At times she served as delegate to state or national functions.

Seeing beyond her own back yard, Vera’s enthusiasms included volunteering with the Germans from Russia Heritage Society, and being an active member in the North Dakota FCE (formerly “Homemaker’s”) where she held several offices throughout the decades. Later, she planned and escorted bus tours to a variety of popular destinations. Vera’s bags were seemingly always packed and ready to go. She traveled the world! Australia, NZ, China, Europe, the UK, many cruises, Canada, nearly all 50 states, but Vera’s most meaningful trip was to tour the Holy Land, and be able to walk where Jesus walked.

When she wasn’t “on the road”, Vera was a mental traveler and avid reader, having read thousands of books. As a gifted homemaker and mother she enjoyed gardening, canning, quilting, crafting, sewing, baking, and learning new things. But once she acquired a floor loom, her interests grew to love weaving and crocheting rugs, and proudly selling her creations at many craft shows in the greater Grand Forks and Twin Cities areas. Vera passionately loomed for over 50 years, designing hundreds of unique, beautiful woven rugs. She also wove many special friendships along the way, and always counted her friends as treasures.

Vera responded to life’s trials with an unwavering faith and grace. In recent years, she optimistically confronted several heath obstacles, and persevered to pursue her activities, adding, “Only by the grace of God.” She took pleasure in a shared living arrangement with her daughter’s family for 25 years, which provided a cherished togetherness. She deeply loved her family, and was always a source of tenderness and affirmation. Vera will be missed by all who had the distinct pleasure of having her as a part of their lives. Our household will profoundly miss interacting with our fun, loving, cheerful and enthusiastic mom and grandma— our shining beacon.

Vera was grateful to God for— and content with— her life! Vera was a child of God.

Preceding her in death were her parents, husband Frank (1992), and sister Norma Hanson.

Survivors include her daughter Susan (Kim) Filter of Eagan; four grandchildren: Justin (Lisa) Smith, Forest Lake MN; Elizabeth (Jorge) Arrizon, Shafer MN; Victoria Filter, and Vanessa Filter, Eagan MN; Great-grandchildren Dylan and Jasmine Tashjian, her devoted son-in-law Kim Filter, as well as many cherished and loved nieces and nephews.

**Memorials contributions are preferred to University Lutheran Church, Grand Forks, ND.

Memorial Service will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at University Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, with visitation the hour prior to the service in the church.

Inurnment: Memorial Park North Cemetery, Grand Forks, ND.

They’re often the nicest people – cheerful and kind, unreservedly helpful to friend and stranger alike.  They’re the ones you want for neighbors and the ones you’re glad to see on a Monday morning at work.  You may even wish you were like them in many ways.  They might follow natural disasters to help in the aftermath; they might build homes or serve medically in impoverished nations; they may sponsor a number of children in deepest Africa.  They would lay down their lives for their spouse and children.  If they attend church, they may be found teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, or working on the kitchen, lawn, or maintenance crews.  Indeed, they check “Christian” on their census form, believing their good works speak for themselves.  But, as you attempt to talk with them deeply of spiritual matters, there is some vague uncertainty which niggles at you.  You wonder if they’ve just been around enough to be able to talk the talk or if they walk the walk out of mere humanitarian duty instead of a regenerated heart.

 

I’m following a delightful video series from Ligonier Ministries by Derek Thomas on The Pilgrim’s Progress.  This classic piece of literature, once eclipsed in sales only by the Bible, has been set on dusty top shelves and only a few 21st century Christians have read it.  I only read it for the first time a couple years ago and am sorry it was not a part of my literature reading from an early age.

 

There are so many fine (and not fine) characters which the loving pastor, John Bunyan, wrote into his 17th century allegory of The Pilgrim’s Progress (parts I and II) which personifies the pleasures and pitfalls along a Christian pilgrim’s journey to our heavenly home (the Celestial City, as Bunyan writes).

 

Through his travels, Christian, the protagonist of The Pilgrim’s Progress, part I, meets two such travelers who evidence that vague lack that indeed niggles away at Christian and makes him burdened in spirit for them.  One is the man, Ignorance, and the other is Talkative.

 

Ignorance believes that Christ plus works will be his plea when he stands before God’s throne on the last day.  Because of Christ’s death, Ignorance believes that his own obedience is now an acceptable sacrifice unto salvation.  Our friend, Christian, emphatically corrects him: “Thou believes with a fantastical faith for this is no where described in the Word” (p113).

 

Christian declares to Ignorance God’s Word: “There is none righteous, there is none that do good” (Romans 3:10-12) and that “every imagination of the heart of man is only evil, and that continually” (Genesis 6:5). To this Ignorance replies, “I will never believe that my heart is thus bad” and here is Ignorance’s problem (p112).

 

He is under the modern delusion that he may choose Christ and salvation by his own will and on his own terms.  He does not conceive the extent to which he is an enemy to God and spiritually dead in his trespasses and sins, unable to move an iota toward God in this fallen state.  Christian’s traveling companion attempts to set him straight:  “Christ is so hid in God from the natural [understandings of all men], that He cannot by any man be savingly known, unless God the Father reveals him to them.”  It must be [brought about] by the exceeding greatness of His mighty power” (pp. 114-115).

 

Ignorance, at no time, has been under a conviction of his sins before God and so he does not fear that his state is dangerous.  The “naturally ignorant” do not understand “that such convictions [are for one’s good] and therefore they desperately seek to stifle them and presumptuously continue to flatter themselves in the way of their own hearts” (p.115).

 

Ignorance does not understand that the fear of the Lord begins by a saving conviction of one’s sins.  It is this conviction which “drives the soul to lay fast of Christ for salvation” and continues in the soul a “great reverence of God, his Word, and ways; keeping it tender and making it afraid to turn from them to the right hand or to the left – to anything that may dishonor God, break its peace, grieve the Spirit, or cause the Enemy (i.e. Satan) to speak reproachfully” (p. 116).

 

The last we see of Ignorance, Christian is unsuccessfully pleading with him:  “Be awakened then, see thine own wretchedness, and fly to the Lord Jesus; and by his righteousness… thou shalt be delivered from condemnation” (p. 115).

 

Well, Ignorance, will thou yet foolish be,

To slight good Counsel, ten times given thee?

And if thou yet refuses it, thou shalt know

Ere long, the evil of thy doing so.

Remember, man in time – stoop!  Do not fear!

Good Counsel, taken well, saves.  Therefore, hear!

But if thou yet shall slight it, thou will be

The loser, Ignorant, I’ll warrant thee. (p. 115).

 

But there is another who masquerades as a fellow traveler to the Celestial City.  Sadly, like Ignorance, on the day of harvest, he too will be separated from the wheat, perhaps to his own surprise (Matthew 13:29-30).  This wanderer is not willfully ignorant, but is instead, insincerely Talkative.

 

Talkative walks with Christian and his friend, Faithful, through several pages of our book and wields many pious words and speeches, often seemingly in agreement with the two travelers.  Faithful is willing to take Talkative at his word and claim him as a fellow pilgrim, but Christian is not so sure.

 

“Religion has no place in his heart or house or conversation; all he has, lies in his tongue, and his religion is to make a noise with it” (p. 62).  “He talks of prayer, of repentance, of faith, and of the new-birth; but he knows only to talk of them…  He is a saint abroad, and a devil at home” (p. 63).  For Talkative, “saying and doing are two things” (p. 63).

 

We know this person.  They can speak about biblical truths and they know all the right words.  It’s not uncommon for them to speak of answered prayer and the help they receive from their faith or from God (general), but there is something missing.  They rarely use the name of Jesus out loud or marvel at his goodness or saving grace in their lives.  And there is little evidence they’ve grieved over there personal sins which caused Christ to endure the wrath of the Father on their behalf.  When Faithful begins to see Talkative for who his is, he explains that when the grace of God is in the heart, “it shows itself by inclining the soul to abhor its sin.”

 

Here, Derek Thomas is helpful in exposing what is lacking in these Talkative ones:

“It is not enough to say that sin does bad things or that there are consequences for bad behavior.  You have to hate that sin.  You have to turn away from that sin and walk toward Jesus.

“A man may cry out against sin… but one must not simply cry out against sin (or I might add, cluck our tongues at the evil in the world), but we must abhor sin. People will readily decry the ungodliness of the world, but does our friend do the utmost to see it in his own heart, to decry its residence there, and to determinedly rid himself of it?”

 

Faithful rightly declares, “Great knowledge may be obtained in the mysteries of the Gospel and yet no work of grace in the soul.  Yea, if a man has all knowledge, he may yet be nothing and so, consequently, be no child of God” (p. 65).  “A work of grace in the soul,” Faithful continues, “gives [one] conviction of sin… This sight and sense of things works in him sorrow and shame for sin… and the absolute necessity of [settling with the Savior] for life… hungering and thirsting after Him” (p. 66).

 

Talkative bristles at being caught in his charade.  He does as many do who are so exposed – he tries to divert the blame to Faithful.  He accuses him of being judgmental and peevish and “not fit to be [talked] with” (p. 67) and so bids him farewell.  Christian, observing the whole exchange, says to Faithful, “I told you how it would happen – your words and his lusts could not agree.  He had rather leave your company, than reform his life… The loss is no man’s, but his own.”

 

How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes!

How bravely does he speak!  How he presumes

To drive down all before him!  But so soon

As Faithful talks of heart-work, like the moon

That’s past the full, into the wain he goes.

And so will all, but he that heart-work knows (p. 68).

 

In the end we see that both Ignorance and Talkative desire “a God without wrath [Who] brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through… a Christ without a cross” (H. Richard Niebuhr).

 

As Talkative walks away, Faithful recalls Ezekiel’s charge to be a watchman.5 He settles the matter in his own mind, “I have dealt plainly with him and so am clear of his blood if he perishes” (p. 67).  This is our sober charge as well – to be faithful ourselves in the proclaiming of truth.  In the end, Faithful clings to one hope:  “I am glad we had this little discourse with him.  It may happen that he will think of it again.”  And this is our sober hope as well.

 

 

All dialogue is quoted from The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and Cynthia Wall, W.W. Norton, 2009, pp. 62-68, 112–116.

Dad Young, Good-Bye for Now

Roland, child of God, maker in metal, guardian of martins, helper of monarchs, solver of sudoku puzzles, and advocate of bridges, reached his final “plateau” and now rests in his Savior’s arms.

Roland’s true legacy was his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, a faith which was the foundation not only of all his diligent work in this life, but of all his hope in the life to come. By God’s grace, in word and action, he taught his family what a humble, faithful, firm-to-the-end Christian life looks like.

Roland Oliver Young, age 90, died Sunday, December 16, 2018 at home in Grand Forks, ND under the care of Altru Hospice.  He was surrounded by his loving family.

Roland was born October 12, 1928 in Anoka, Minnesota to Herbert and Alta (Volkenant) Young.  He was the youngest of four siblings. He graduated from Grand Forks Central High School in 1946.

Rol’s first place of employment to put his German “work ethic” to use was the Goodman Farm Electric Company in Grand Forks as a sophomore in high school.  His brother, Frank, who was also employed there, was influential in getting him hired to repair, prepare and spray paint rebuilt generators.  In 1947, Roland and his two brothers, Dick and Frank, purchased a machine and welding shop in Grand Forks and established Young Brothers Manufacturing.  The Korean War put their creative and industrious work on hold as Rol joined the 231st Engineer Combat Battalion of the North Dakota National Guard in 1950.  As a machinist, he was assigned to the 765th Transportation Railway Shop Battalion in Pusan.  In 1952 when he returned from the service, having attained the rank of Sergeant 1st Class, he took a position as a machinist at the US Bureau of Mines Lignite Research Laboratory (currently the EERC- Energy & Environmental Research Center).  His design and engineering work there was acknowledged with many awards.

He met Lois (McIntyre) Young on the musical stage in Riverside Park while performing Cavalleria Rusticana.  They both had extraordinarily beautiful singing voices.  They often sang at funerals and weddings as well as in church choirs at United Lutheran and University Lutheran.  They were married March 9, 1957 in Grand Forks at United Lutheran Church.  They raised five children; Jane, Alan, Larry, Tom and Dana.  Lois died in 1988 of cancer.  He married Millie Everson in 1989.  He had many fond memories of spending time with her and her family.

Rol’s aptitude and interest in designing mechanical equipment was most life-changing when he invented the Panellift® drywall lift which led him to establish his manufacturing business- Telpro, Inc.  Throughout his work life, even in his last weeks, he always thought, “There’s got to be a better way…” This was the driving force behind his earthly endeavors such as drywall tools, Red River basin water retention efforts and bridges between North Dakota and Minnesota.   He designed many inventions, over a dozen of which have patents.

Roland will forever be lovingly remembered by his children who benefited from their dad’s mechanically creative brain and engineering, construction and welding abilities.  He purchased and remodeled a 1948 school bus into a camper that produced hundreds of hours of fun adventures for his family.  He was tolerant of a number of family pets, even a crow, for which he designed and constructed a cage “hotel” in their backyard!  Rol made every effort to see that his kids had opportunities to learn while having fun building something-from constructing a 20’ high tree house to building a toboggan slide that rivaled the one in Lincoln park!

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Lois, brothers Richard Young, and B. Franklin Young, sister Vera Soberg, brother-in-law Pete Soberg, and sister-in-law Delores Young.

He is survived by his children Jane (Miles) Rodacker, Grand Forks; Alan (Eileen) Young, Ypsilanti, Michigan; Larry (Kim) Young, Grand Forks; Tom (Lori) Young, Grand Forks; and Dana (Kimberly) Young, Thompson, ND; and his sister-in-law Vera Young, Edina, MN.  Grandchildren Curran Gause (special friend Martina Mlikota), Mindy (Jay) O’Connor, Cory (Sam) Rodacker, Melissande (Greg) Deardurff, O’Neill Young, Spencer (Rebekah) Young, Amber (Anthony) Mooney, Morgan Young, Matt (Kim) Meyer, Ashley (Andrew) Jacobson, Seth (Joy) Young, Bryce (Caroline) Young and Courtney Young.  Great-grandchildren Kennedy, Kellen, Chassidy, Haiden, Jakson, Rowan, Warrick, Seraphine, Lyriel, Marjorie, Esme, Beatrice, Iris, Gracie, Gretchen, Blake, Harrison, Calvin, Lewis, Lucy and William, as well as many loved and cherished nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will be held 11:00 am, Thursday, December 20, 2018 at University Lutheran, Grand Forks, ND.

Visitation will be Wednesday, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm with a 7:30 pm prayer service in Amundson Funeral Home, Grand Forks.  Visitation will continue for the hour before the service in the church.

Interment: Memorial Park North Cemetery, Grand Forks.  Military honors will be provided by the North Dakota Army National Guard.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Roland’s name to Altru Hospice, University Lutheran Church or an organization of your choosing.

It Is Not Death to Die

In the midst of a time of grieving (his and ours), Andrew sent us this beautiful reminder of our secure hope.

It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God.

It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears.

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just.

It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore.

 

©Integrity’s Praise! Music/Sovereign Grace Praise.
Words: Henri Malan (1787-1864), tr. George Bethune (1847); Bob Kauflin
Music: Bob Kauflin.

The Shop

Here’s a guest post from my brother-in-law, Alan
(originally titled, The Shop- It Was Built to Make Machines,
but It Really Formed a Family).
Alan recounts his own warm, first-hand memories
of the family shop (as previously referred to here).

I am deeply grateful to Alan for his
recollections both in word and picture.

– – – – – –

Even the Holy Scriptures designate a beginning, but I find it difficult to put a time stamp on the beginning of “the shop.” Mostly because the lineage and heritage of Young always involves a shop. This story is about the shop which was built by my Dad and the rest of our family. Our Dad, Rolly, and the four boys- Alan, Larry, Tom and Dana, were helped out by our Mom-Lois and our sister Jane. The house was built in 1973 as part of our family’s big move from Grand Forks to the land my parents bought from Mom’s father, Alvin McIntyre. Alvin and his brother, Cliff, grew up in the Old Farmhouse about 5 miles out of Grand Forks.

As children we had many trips to the farm- some in the family station wagon, some on our own bikes. As a family we spent many long hours in the summers of 1972 and 1973, clearing trees and brush from a thick wooded area north of the farmhouse that was up until then, left unfettered by time.

These woods were dominated by large oak, ash and basswood trees and thick underbrush. Beneath the underbrush one could discover the paths worn by cows from the days when Alvin ran a dairy operation and the cows were allowed to wander through the northern acres, creating paths that still form the boundaries for the current “Young Compound.” It was while wandering through these paths one Sunday afternoon that Dad and Mom were inspired to take Dad’s newly formed invention of the PanelLift® drywall lift and move from town to this new frontier.

The original portion of the shop measured 70 feet long and 42 feet wide. The concrete foundation was poured on June 8, 1973. (Interestingly enough, Eileen and I were married 12 years later on June 8, 1985). The shop building was completed in the early fall. The house was being built simultaneously by a contractor, but when it came time to move into the house it wasn’t finished, so we parked all of our boxed-up belongings in the back of the shop. My mother and my brother, Larry, spearheaded the organization of this effort, numbering every box and cataloging them in a big three-ringed binder. We also moved all of our furniture into the shop. Dad hooked up a stove, table, and other necessary items for a functioning kitchen in the front inside corner of the shop. A rug was laid down with a couch and chair for our living room. Our family bedroom was the 1948 Ford school bus which my dad had turned into a camper in 1966.

The bus was parked in the middle of the shop and it slept all 7 of us… and had a flush toilet. Pioneers from 1800 wished they had it so good!

                                                                  Alan, Dana-Tom?, Larry, Jane, Mom

The shop’s living quarters were topped off by a long rope that hung from a ceiling rafter. A large knot was tied at the bottom of the rope and this served as an inside swing that pacified the high energy of four boys and amused their sister. This North Dakota Bohemian living arrangement lasted about a month as the house was finished in time for Christmas dinner and the shop was ready to begin its 45-year career as the forge that would shape the lives of five fortunate young people. The shop was the vehicle to our futures whether we understood it or not.

The early days of a family-run business can be tricky- especially when much of the work force is still in high school and college. Dad’s new machine was slowly catching on with rental shops and contractors. It was a Providential boost to the business when a major tool distributor, Goldblatt Tools, found out about the PanelLift.

They began ordering from the fledgling home-manufacturing shop-in-the-woods. Soon a couple of full-time workers were hired to support the operation as the five kids were still in their high school and soon-to-be college years. It was the years spanning 1973-1985 that the five Young kids earned their way through college by running drill presses and punch presses, turning parts on a lathe, performing assembly tasks, and learning valuable trade-related operations including welding and painting and tasks involving mechanical design problem solving. Although only Dana and Larry stayed with the family business, all five kids learned that having a work opportunity 50 feet from their home was a good thing.

                                                                                              Jane and Dana

                                                                                                        Dana

                                                                                  Tom, Dana, Larry, Alan

                                                                                           Alan, Dana, Larry

I can’t speak for all of us, but I know I spent thousands of hours from 1973-1982 working summers and weekends to pay my way through school. Those were not easy hours. The welding booth in the summer was wretchedly hot and I remember making the decision many times to wear the least amount of leather protection so the heat wouldn’t be so oppressive. The trade-off was having to bear the inevitable welding spark that would land on my t-shirt, slowly burning a hole in it until it reached my skin and an unseen glowing spark would slowly die out 2 inches north of my navel.

Suiting up for painting was great in winter but in summer it was a sweatbath.

                                                                                                                       Alan

From this time, at this place, each of us had a vision. For some, that vision revealed clearly that these surroundings would become their future- they would help nurture and grow the machine that Dad designed and help grow this shop and in the process, make a larger forge for others who would come to work for the business. For some of us our vision was different- even if we didn’t know we had a vision at this time.  Maybe it was just cluttered by the machines we were running…

… or the machines we were building.

                                                                                     PanelLifts, ready to go

But this work allowed us to get our hands dirty and our bodies sweaty. Our clothes became worn and frazzled.  We learned not to take for granted the comfort of a shower and clean fresh clothes, as we awoke the next day and put on yesterday’s dirty jeans and t-shirts; after all, we didn’t want to ruin new clothes before the old ones had finished their abilities to shield us from dirt, grease, welding spatter, and paint.

Working in this shop allowed us to be together working with family.

                                                                            Dad, Mom, Dana, Tom, Alan

But working in this shop also allowed us to be alone. Alone at long, tedious tasks, producing parts that stacked into boxes, carts and assembly racks. We learned the value of tedium, the value of monotony, the value of being uncomfortable while your body did work and your mind was free (or forced to drift elsewhere).

Whatever one’s work environment may be, I think there is a forlornness [in its loss] unmatched by people whose hands helped to build the place they work. I think of farmers and their families who through the generations have managed the same homesteads as they built barns and granaries, sheds and facilities to run their operations. Now, as corporate farms take over the landscape, these farmers and their families are faced with the declining ability to keep pace and are losing their businesses; but more to the heart- they are losing their land and buildings- a loss that is different than moving from a cubicle to another cubicle, a company to another company, even moving from one career to a different career. When your body has contributed to the means by which an enterprise has been planted, grown, and flourished, and now that enterprise has lost the means to be maintained- there is an emptiness.

I see this emptiness now as I walk through the dimly lit rooms of the old shop. Once the heart of the operation, it is now a shell.

There are left over machines, benches, odd tools, and stacks of odd parts…

… out-dated jigs that once cleverly allowed intricate parts to be efficiently produced- all now sitting and waiting…

…waiting for what may come next.  For now, there is no clear answer to their future.

Maybe some day these machines and this building will be resurrected for a new beginning.  Maybe they will return to dust as we know our own bodies will some day.

But even as I turn on the light in an old corner office, I am reminded that we are a people of The Resurrection.

December 3, 2018

The King’s Meal

Today, the body of believers to whom we have committed ourselves, communed with each other and with our Lord Jesus over the elements of His Supper.  These days, I am trying to discipline myself to personal reflection as the elements are being passed around – to review that “I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior” (Newton).

 

I want to be mindful of the great honor I have received – “once His enemy, now seated at the table” – wonder of all wonders!  Further, this memorial meal foreshadows the meal we will share with King Jesus in eternity at his wedding feast when the Lord himself will dress himself for service… and He will come and serve those who have watched for his return (Luke 12:35-38) – what?!? how can this be?

 

My time around the Lord’s Table has been enriched by a message given by Sinclair Ferguson at the 2017 Pastors’ Basics Conference sponsored by Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, OH, and their pastor, Alistair Begg.  Ferguson likens the Lord’s Supper to a dress rehearsal for that glorious day when we, Christ’s bride, set apart by Jesus himself, will be presented to our Bridegroom in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing – holy and without blemish, having been cleansed by Him by the washing with the Word (Ephesians 5:26-27).

 

These days it’s common for the wedding party to celebrate a joyous meal together after the rehearsal.  Ferguson points out that the rehearsal dinner or Groom’s Dinner, as we call it, is traditionally paid for by the groom’s father.  And so it is with the meal we celebrate in our churches around the Lord’s table – it is a meal paid for by our Groom’s Father…  and at the dearest of costs (John 3:16).

 

Similarly, the banquet we celebrate following a wedding is traditionally paid by the Bride’s Father… and so it will be on that resplendent Day. The bride’s Father, our Father, will have provided all for that Day – that day of rejoicing when we will glory in our beloved Groom and need never be parted from Him ever more.   No wonder we will sing and shout the victory – “Hallelujah!  All I have is Christ!”