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Some msuing of mine and a thank you.

Discussion in 'Religion and Spirituality' started by Ohiophinphan, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    This is an article I have written for my congregation's February newsletter. Since this board is mentioned, I thought you might want to read it. This is also a small thank you to the folks here for all you have meant to me over the years!

    Dear friends in Christ,

    While at a conference this week a very strange thing happened. I received a call from a detective in NJ who inquired if I knew a Mr. William Bergquist? My Mom’s cousin Billy, I wondered? It seems that William had been a recluse for years living in a small mobile home. The neighbors noticed no activity for some time and asked the police to check. So, on Christmas Eve, the police broke in to find Billy dead. It took them until January 20th to find a relative and it turns out I am the next of kin. “Sir”, the officer continued, “I am sorry, but what do you want done with him?”

    You have heard me say how little family I have left. The fact is I never had much to start with. My mother was an only child and she had three first cousins, all also only children. Two of the cousins were on her mother’s side and one of them, Fred, had died in 1992, the same year my Mom passed away. Billy was the youngest, born in 1935, and had estranged himself from the family in the early 1960’s. The last time I remember seeing him was around 1963 and here I am, suddenly the next of kin and responsible for the final arrangements.

    To say that I was shocked would have been an understatement. But, within the first few hours, the shock turned to great sadness. I wondered what made a person cut himself so off from the world that it would take a week to know he was dead and a month to find a family member? The detective had been able to locate a friend, with whom I have now also spoken. He visited Billy every other week and a second friend came by every other month. They didn’t know he had any family. That was the sum and total of Billy’s outside contacts. He had no car, no phone, and only a small TV on rabbit’s ears. He had been briefly married in the 70’s but was divorced and had never had children. I hope he was happy in that way of life but I must admit, I doubt that very strongly.

    Many of you, if not most in this congregation have family locally or at least if they are not local, you stay in touch via phone, computer, or letter. And whether you think about it or not, most of us have made extended families through friends, neighbors, and this congregation. In the shock of receiving this news, I was blessed to be at an event with a hundred plus colleagues who have been great friends to me over the past two decades. Their support was wonderful. Through the tough times in my life, I have been blessed by the love of the congregational families I have served and the other communities of special interests like my gaming friends and my Miami Dolphin online group to which I belong. Where I have had few blood kinships, I have been richly blessed with a large “family” of others whose lives I share.

    God’s first thoughts about Adam were, “It is not good for the man to be alone”. Even before that, God makes human kind in His image so even God could be in community. The children of Israel and later the Church are spoken of as the communities where God’s actions are manifest. We are told repeatedly in scripture to live for and with others.

    There are a few folks in this congregation who have few if any family and whose health issues have restricted them to their homes. They are our family as well! They don’t just need the official visits from the pastors, though we are redoubling our efforts there, but I urge you to take some of your time and drop by and see them. Keep them engaged in life and the community that is the Church.

    Thanks for listening and allowing me into the family that is St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Oak Harbor.

    Yours in Christ,

    Pastor Keith
    Da 'Fins, ATLFINFAN, DOLPHAN1 and 5 others like this.
  2. dolphindebby

    dolphindebby Season Ticket Holder Luxury Box

    Nov 26, 2007
    You are such a blessing to me Pastor Keith.
    God bless you, my friend.
    Ohiophinphan and njfinfan like this.
  3. njfinfan

    njfinfan The First Lady

    Nov 23, 2007
    Newark, NJ
    Stunning, sad and beautiful thoughts Pastor. Thank you for sharing. God Bless my friend.
    Ohiophinphan likes this.

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