Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Mom's Funeral Sermon

Carolyn Lindner…Hebrews 13:14

What a blessing was this Christian lady! When the Lord our God begins to gather for Himself a covenant people, the Lord calls a man named Abraham. To this man the Lord God promises, I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless you in order that you may be a blessing. The Lord our God intends that to be a description of all of His people. It certainly is an apt description of Carolyn. She was blessed to be a blessing, and she was a blessing.

Through her marriage to Ernest Lindner, Carolyn became the wife of a pastor. Thus as he moved, accepting calls to serve in six different places, Carolyn, and you also Karl, also moved. Carolyn was a blessing in Lyndhurst, New Jersey and Roanoke, Virginia, in Peekskill, New York, and Accident, Maryland, in Houston, Texas and finally here in Greenwood, Indiana. In all those places she found numerous ways in which to be a blessing. Last week we completed with our older adults and the children of our Day School the filling of shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. For several years Carolyn helped organize and process this special benefit that through Samaritan’s Purse gives hope and joy and a shoebox of little gifts to children around the world. Blessings don’t necessarily come in large ways or in gigantic boxes. A small shoebox provides a tremendous blessing when you have little or nothing. We don’t always need to be doing the large projects or be seen standing in front and leading persons to be a blessing. Many of the things Carolyn did around here after the Lindners moved up from Texas were not the out-in-front of people kinds of things, but rather the smaller, behind-the-scenes kinds of things. But they are still blessings. As the Lord God directed Abraham, so he directs all His people: I will bless you that you might be a blessing. Carolyn was a blessing.

Carolyn was born in Bayonne, New Jersey and baptized at Grace Lutheran Church there. She was confirmed at St John’s Lutheran in Williston Park, New York, a village in Nassau County on Long Island. From there she graduated from Mineola High School and later earned a degree from Luther College in Teaneck, New Jersey. Those places all sound a little foreign to us Midwesterners, but Bayonne and Williston Park and Teaneck are all located around New York City. Carolyn was born and raised around “the city” as she called it. She loved the city. I’m not sure she would want to go back and live any more in the places she’d grown up in, because the city of New York and all those places have changed so much since the forties, fifties and sixties when she lived there, but she still loved the city.

God’s Word uses that picture to point us to Him and our heavenly home. The Word of our God reminds us that here in this place and in this life, we do not have an enduring city, but, says Hebrews 13:14 “we are looking for the city that is to come.” Says St Paul to the Philippians, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Certainly it was our prayer and would have been our prayer that her mantle cell lymphoma would have responded to treatment better and her years here with you as family and with us as her Christian family might have lasted for a while longer. 71 years is not that old. Yet today’s newspaper will print the names of those who have died, some having lived significantly longer than Carolyn, others who lived quite a few years less than Carolyn. We do not know the number of our days. But we do know the promises of God. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, writes the psalmist, “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” That’s the city that is to come, the place we in faith are looking forward to as we dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

After services here at Calvary on Sunday, October 30th, I stopped by room 603 where Carolyn was hospitalized at St Francis Beech Grove. She’d been feeling discomfort and pain, and while trying to stay at home, it became necessary for her to be admitted back to St Francis. Though receiving medication it was obvious Carolyn still was most uncomfortable. Because of the medication she was dozing in and out during our brief visit, although she still tried to visit. One of the things she said during that brief visit was, I don’t know whether I’m going to get out of this place or not. She didn’t say it with fear; she didn’t say it with remorse or anxiety or regret. She just stated that from where she was in that bed and with the pain she had and the treatments she’d already been through, she just didn’t know if she’d get healthy enough to return home.

Carolyn, whether directly or indirectly, was already looking for the city that is to come. Carolyn was a Christian lady, a child of God, one who lived by faith and trusted in her Lord and Savior, just as we do. “God is our refuge and strength, declares Psalm 46, “an ever-present help in trouble.” In faith, and in the midst of her pain, she knew the one who is ever-present with His people, the Lord our God, our refuge and our strength. This is the One who led her through life, the One who fed her with His Word and with His Sacrament, the One who loved her with an everlasting love, the One who gathered her to Himself very suddenly last Saturday morning.

Born on May 6, 1940 Carolyn was the oldest daughter born to Harold and Edna (McVeigh) Scholz in Bayonne, New Jersey. This was a Christian family and Carolyn was made a member of the Lord’s family through the washing of baptism at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church there in Bayonne. As she was baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the Lord God, her refuge and strength and her Good Shepherd proclaimed, You are mine now, Carolyn. You are a part of my family, this household of faith, this community of saints. I died for you, and through faith in me you are now part of my eternal family. Operation Grace Child brought to Carolyn by her heavenly Father.

Fourteen years later, having just celebrated her fourteenth birthday, standing before the congregation of God’s people at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran in Williston Park on Long Island, New York, Carolyn publicly professed this Christian faith as her own confession. She was confirmed on May 23, 1954 by Pastor Ernest Sherer. Carolyn’s confirmation verse is 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

The good fight of faith continued throughout Carolyn’s life for she lived by faith and walked with her Lord Jesus Christ. On August 8, 1971 she married Pastor Ernest Lindner, and son, Karl, was born to them on February 27, 1974. We gathered here on February 21, 2008 to give thanks to the Lord for the life and faith of Carolyn’s husband and your father, Karl. He also, as your mom, was in the 71st year of his life when he went home to be with his Lord and Savior.

That’s what we remember today, that we all are on a journey. As followers of Jesus Christ we believe that this not our final home. We look forward toward that city of God, that place called heaven where our Lord and Savior has set aside a place for all who trust and believe in him. In Revelation 21 we are given that picture of the city of God as that place where the Lord God comes to dwell with His people. He is in their midst, making all things new.

That day when Carolyn took hold of eternal life came on Saturday, but it was a gift that the Lord had bestowed upon her in His grace many years earlier and many times since then. This day, today, is not the final step in this life, and Carolyn knew that. The Lord had called her by His grace, washing her in the waters of regeneration and pouring His mercy, forgiveness and love upon her heart and life again and again. We take hold of eternal life because the Lord first takes hold of us through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus.

All of us will stand before the judgment seat of God. He will review all the days of our life. Our eternity in heaven or our eternity in hell rests at that point in His hands. There is nothing I can hide from Him, nothing I can change before Him. I have fallen short. I am guilty before the Almighty. We all have fallen short. We all are guilty before Him. This Christian lady knew that also.

That’s why she readily confessed Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, the One who forgives all our sins, the One who takes that guilt to himself on the cross at Calvary, the one who stands victorious on Easter morning and always as the conqueror of death and sin, the One who stands with all those who believe in Him when we stand before the judgment seat of God. Through faith in Christ alone we confidently proclaim-I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

We walk now in that same faith, clinging to Christ Jesus in faith and trust, knowing that through Him we shall be joined together once again as the saints above. Until then we rejoice in His blessing to us through His Son, for in Jesus Christ He continues to call us. He calls us to fight the good fight of faith. He calls us to take hold of the eternal life to which He has called us. He calls us to be a blessing even as He has blessed us to be His very own through Jesus Christ, our Savior. And in His precious name. Amen.

Friday, June 03, 2011

How'd This Happen?

I'm a little scared at the moment. That's not right, I'm not scared, scared, but more like, I don't know, freaked out...? Maybe. Not even that.

Here's what it is. I did the following today. I went to the bank and got money. I rented a DVD. And I got stamps. Here's how I did it. I went to the ATM and got the money, used my check card to get the money. I used Redboxfor the first time ever, gave them my email address, and swiped my check card. I went to the lobby of the post office, after hours, bought a "book" stamps, used my check card.

Here's the thing: absolutely no human contact, at all. None. That's just kind of scary. I guess it just hit me how today how really connected and disconnected we really are. How easy it is to spend money and not even realize I'm doing it. It doesn't seem to hurt as much when I swipe a plastic card instead of handing over a dead president. Geeze, I'm writing this blog, marveling at the world around me and not talking to any one. Just typing away. Maybe someone will read it, but what does that mean? No human contact.

I vaguely remember a time before ATMs. You needed cash for the weekend? You better get to the bank before end of business on Friday or out a luck, Chuck. Need stamps? Get thee to the Post Office and wait in line. You need a weekend's entertainment? Wanna rent a DVD (VHS, remember those?) Blockbuster down the street.... remember those?

I honestly do worry about the world and the generations coming. Will there be socialization at all?

I see cellphone-zombies walking, looking at their little screens. I'm guilty of it myself. i keep saying "I need to unplug" but I'm not really sure you can even really do that anymore. We've turned a corner, we really have. I don't know when or where, but we turned a corner. A corner that we can't unturn.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Library Self-Assessment

I read this article with great interest earlier today. It was written by one of the Library Science students here at IUPUI. She basically asks the question what do I want to do next? Read the post and you'll see there is more to it than that, but that's the gist.

I agree, when I was going through library school, I too asked myself "what kind of librarian do I want to be?" I bounced back and forth between public and academic. Through some happy accidents, I fell into the world of academic librarianship, for better or worse and found that I do enjoy the academic realm. There are parts of it that I don't like, but on the whole enjoy the atmosphere, mostly.

I find myself, almost four years after graduation (still struggeling to find the full time job) what type of librarian do I want to be. Part of the problem is this: when I was going to school I didn't get much, if any guidance. I went to my "advisor" and he threw a grey sheet of paper at me and said "here, follow this" and I was summarily dismissed. So, I followed that sheet of paper. I held onto it like a life raft. It was my guide.

When I was going to school the internet was really taking off, but my profs were still very much bookbound. I was taught how to use indexes and the like, databases were given a glance and Wikipedia was "of the Debil!"

I knew I wanted to be a reference librarian, so I took the reference classes. I didn't look much at the digital library classes, mainly because I didn't really understand what that meant, I've learned, but I didn't get much into them.

Library Science is exploding. It seems that there are more librarians out there now than ever before, to some degree this might not be an exaggeration. It doesn't help that there are not one, but two library science schools pumping us out in this state alone. This sounds like sour grapes, I'm sure, but its not-- it more frustration...

I keep up with trends via Twitter, you can find me @loofrin, through Facebook, and various other professional orgainzations (American Library Asssociation). Though, I'm honestly not sure what the ALA does, other than stomp its foot and get political from time to time. I'm a member, but grudgingly. I follow a variety of job boards, talk to librarians, and, on occasion, actually sit down and read "professional literature," but to do that I have to be well caffinated.

I learned a lot in library school, don't get me wrong, but I've had to do some scrambling to fill in the gaps and there are many. My self assement is this: I have a lot of work to do to get myself where I need to be.
The next few weeks and months are going to be very interesting and not necessarily in a good way; because of budget cuts my reference position is going to be fazed out. So, I'm a little at a loss as to what I'll be doing, but then there this scary little nugget that has been growing ever so slightly: maybe getting out of the library profession would be best. I've given it my best shot, done what I could and, to a degree have failed. I don't want to leave, but maybe that's the direction I need to go.

That thought saddens me. Truly. I've wanted to be a librarian since I was little, roughly the age of 12.

Maybe I need to take a break. Go back to selling books. Maybe I should do something crazy, like wait tables. I don't know.

I can say this, though, my faith is strong. I know its all going to work out. There is not telling where this may lead. One door is closing. Another will open.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Let's Get This Party Started!

Pastor: What did the women see when they looked into the tomb?
Child: There was no one there!
--from the children's sermon on Easter Sunday

A member of our church died yesterday. He had been fighting cancer for the last four years, or so. I didn't know him, but I knew he who he was. I'd seen him a few Sundays back. He was a regular church goer. He, by his regular attendance and worship was a faith-role model for me. His name was Jack Fix. He died yesterday afternoon after being in hospice care for a week, or so. When his death was announced in church today the first thing I thought of, and it might be silly, but I could almost see St. Peter at the Gates seeing Jack coming along and saying to him "Oh, good! You're just in time! There's a heckuva party getting ready to start, and you're invited!"

Indeed, there is.

Today's Gospel reading in the lectionary came from Matthew 28:1-10. I found the second verse to be a wonderful image: "And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it." (ESV) For some reason, the image of an Angel of the Lord sitting on the stone that was just rolled away makes me smile. I can almost see the Angel swinging his feet back and forth sitting on top of the stone waiting for the women to come having a hard time containing the greatest news of all!

The tomb was empty! Empty!

It is because of that empty tomb that Mr. Fix in his glory. His glory, neither earned or deserved, but given freely. Given to us through Jesus Christ's death on the cross and his resurrection from the tomb, because 'death is swallowed up in victory, oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:54,55). Indeed, death has no victory, there is no sting. Death is the loser, death gets stung, and Mr. Fix gets the gift of eternal life, his party has just begun.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Winning? Won!

Sometimes we Lutherans are accused of being a little bit Cross-obsessed. I remember the words of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians: "I was determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" and Galatians 3: "before your eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified" and think about the joy of the Easter morning message the angel gave to women was: "You seek Jesus who was crucified. He, the crucified one, is not here. He is Risen!

The Cross is very much the heart, core, center, and focus of the sacred scripture because it is what He came to do; into our own flesh and blood in order the he might offer it up as this fully sufficient ransom for us, so that we could be set free!

It is the heart, core, center; true, it would leave us dead in our sin if He had not been raised, no question there. But it's the fact that He raised the one who bore the sin of the world that makes his resurrection the absolution of the entire world..." -- Rev. Will Weedon on Issues,Etc April 22, 2011

How does one truly wrap their brain around this fact: our true punishment for sin was taken on by one man. Who allowed himself to be nailed to a cross so that we might have the blessing of eternal life? I'm not really sure its possible. Jesus allowed himself to be beaten, whipped, mocked, debased, humiliated, for all of us. He went willing to take our place. Yours, mine, and even, believe it or not Charlie Sheen's.

We did nothing to deserve this gift and can do nothing to repay it, don't even try. Its more than us. More than me. More than you. Or, as Propaganda says in this video: "its above your pay grade..."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Made Strong Through Weakness and Grace

As many were astonished at you--
his appearance was so marred, beyond
human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of
mankind --Isaiah 52:14 (ESV)

From the little research I have done crucifiction was a horrible way to die. Until just recenlty when I would read the lines "and they crucified him" I didn't honestly know what that I meant. I mean I knew it meant Jesus was nailed to a cross with spikes, or large nails, but for some reason "crucified" meant "died instantly," and yet, if you read the scriptures you see that Jesus lingered for hours. I read, recently, that someone crucified could linger for a day or more and they was to hasten death was to break the legs of the condemmed. We see that the Gospels, Pilate is surprised to hear the Jesus has already died when Roman soldiers go out to "finish the job." If I understand correctly, someone who was crucified died of exhaustion and asphyxiation. In short, their legs couldn't support them and they wouldn't be able to breath because of the deadweight resting on their diaphram.

One question I have heard asked more than any other is this: "why did Jesus die so quickly?" I'm not a medical doctor, but considering that he was flogged, beaten, not to mention hadn't had anything to drink, or eat in at least 24 hours might have something to do with it. There are any variety of medical reasons, I would think, that Jesus died quickly: blood loss. When Romans flogged someone they didn't play around. They played for keeps. Why do you think that Roman citizens couldn't be flogged?

Not only was Jesus flogged, but he was clothed in a purple robe. Probably something akin a velvety material. In short, almost a bandage. You know what happens when you pull off a bandage over a fresh finger cut? It rips and scab and the finger starts to bleed, again. Imagine that with the robe, but on a bigger scale, let's say a flayed back made raw and bloody with a cat-o-nine tails that probably had small bits of bone, or stone in the straps. The Romans played for keeps.

I can't truly imagine what Jesus went through, but the above passage from Isaiah certainly does give a mental visual: "his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance..." Jesus must of been a pulp.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governors's headquarters, and they gathered a whole battalion before him. And they stipped him adn put a scarlet robe on him and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head adn put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him saying "Hail, King of the Jews...

Isaiah goes on in chapter 53:3,5
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with
and as one from whom men hid their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not....
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought
us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.

And here's the thing, ready? He did it for you and me. Willingly. Willingly. He allowed himself to be taken to slaughter. He allowed himself to be flogged. He allowed himself to be nailed to a tree and become the cursed one (Gal 3:13). Why? Who would do such a thing?

I'll tell you why he did it. He did it for this reason: so that we can "with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). He did it so that we didn't have to. He did it so that we can take comfort in knowing that his grace is sufficient for us and his power is made perfect in our weakness(2Cor 12:8).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail..." -- Luke 23:31-32(a) ESV

Its funny. I've read and re-read the description of the Jesus' betrayal and trial as well as his death and resurrection many, many times. I can't count how many times I've read about it. And I don't think I've really read that verse. I went back and looked at my NIV and it was underlined so it must of made an impression somewhere along the line. I had written a little note next to it, too: John 17.

I've been following the lectionary series that is printed in the front of my Lutheran Study Bible (LSB). The series I'm following is the "Three-Year Lectionary: Series A." That's just a fancy way of saying "these are the readings that are assigned" for such and such a day. There are three readings: one from the Old Testement, one from the Epistles, and one from the Gospels. They build on each other. The Gospel reading being the cherry on the top. The reading for today, Wednesday of Holy Week is Luke 22:1-23:56.

I wrote the above paragraphs a few days ago. I didn't post this originally because I ran out of time. Since then, I have continued the readings. I am actually a day behind. I read Maundy Thursday's readings a little earlier. I'll read Good Friday's, the one that are appointed for today, later on this evening. I'm letting the Mauny Thurday kind of settle in and take root. Here is the verse that struck me today, It comes from Hebrews 9:22 "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood tehre is no forgiveness of sins." That's the verse that is working its way through my conscience and unconscience.

When I was working Camp Lone Star, in La Grange, TX I had a camper who was very smart. He was from a good, stong Lutheran family. I can't remember his name, but he was about 8 or so. One morning we were walking back to our cabin after morning song time. We were just chatting about whatever it was when he stopped and looked at me quite ernestly and said "Pnut, if Jesus and I were the only two people on earth, who would kill him?" It stopped me in my tracks. I knew the answer immediately, but how do you tell an 8 year old that he, in fact, would be the one to nail Jesus to the cross? That question has stayed with me ever since. It was a tough question.

The two verses that have been working on me for a variety of reasons and I'm not really sure I can truly quantify them. Or even explain why they seem to have stopped me in my tracks. Maybe, the first one, Luke 22:31 makes me realize that Satan, or "the adversary" as it can be translated in the Greek (I looked it up the other day as I did some very ameteaur exegesis) is demanding me so that I can me "sifted like wheat." Of course, I immediately thought of Matthew 3:11-12

"I Baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but that chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire" ESV

By rights, I should be in the chaff that is going into the fire. I am sinful by nature, unclean, soiled. I am a sinner through and through, from top to bottom. Satan is demanding me. He is damanding all of us and yet, because of God's Grace and Love, those who "believe and are baptized" are saved.
I have heard the story of W.C. Fields on his death bed. He was sitting up in bed with a Bible open on his lap, one his friends came in, he was shocked to Fields with a Bible. He asked W.C. what he was doing and, as the story goes, W.C. repsonded "looking for the loophole..." Except its not a loophole, not really. What Jesus did for us this day 2,000 years ago is much more than a loophole! And that's where Hebrews 9 seems to come in. My salvation comes through the blood-sacrafice that God demanded. There had to be atonement. God, in his infinite wisdom, knew that I could never atone for my sinful nature. It is so deeprooted, what we Lutherans call the "old Adam" I am sinful by nature, born into it, and to some degree I revel in it. And yet, because "God so loved the world (me/us/you)He sent his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." That is the loophole. Right there.

That faith that Jesus prayed Peter would have, I'd like to think he prayed I would have, too. If Peter, the Rock upon which Christ built his church was in need of special faith-prayer, then rest assured I am, too. I will sing my hosannas in the highest on Sunday. I will thank God for his love and Grace. And revel, not in sin, but in the great knowledge that I am in the Grace and that I am well blessed. Satan has demanded me, but as it says in the Apostle's Creed "He descended into hell and on the third day rose again! Yeah, I'll take the loophole. I'll take that loophole all day long.