Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Big robes to fill

One of the perks of Todd going to school up in Evanston is that he's plugged in to the college student scene. He has access to a kind of campus "Craig's List" where Garrett students can sell, swap, or seek certain items. Through this site, Todd became aware that there were some clergy robes available. Since Todd is very early in his ministry career, and since clergy robes are quite expensive, he responded to the posting. He was able to obtain two beautiful clergy robes from a recently deceased United Methodist pastor in the area. The pastor's widow had wanted to donate the robes in hopes that some new pastor, much like Todd, would be able to use them.

Todd picked up the robes on campus and took the widow's information so that he could write her a thank-you note. And as is typical of the Internet generation, he Googled her surname to see what he could find out about the man whose robes he would fill.

The following link is a blog post written by another pastor in memory of Rev. Robert C. Wiedrich:
http://goodsamaritanpastor.blogspot.com/2012/06/rev-wiedrich-in-memoriam.html?m=1

What a humbling testimony of the impact one's life can have on others. Here's my favorite part:
"He said that Christ was with those who suffer, and that if we would follow Jesus then that's where we must be, too. He worked to break down racial segregation in the church and in society. He stood with locked out union workers. He witnessed first-hand the suffering of the Nicaraguans in the 1980s on account of Reagan's foreign policy (I still remember reading the letters he wrote from Nicaragua for the church newsletter). Unfortunately, he did not live to see the end of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the United Methodist Church."

Our country has just gone through the wringer. The "winners" edged out the "losers" by meager percentage points. Ours is a country divided. But no matter what important economic, political, and social matters we have ahead of us it all comes down to this: Christ is with us. If we proclaim to be followers of Jesus, we need to put aside red and blue and get down to work serving others, just like Reverend Wiedrich.

Coincidentally, Reverend Wiedrich was buried the week we moved our family to Illinois to begin our ministry. As one generation ends their leadership another begins. So goes the circle of life. But the need to live Christ to others never ends. We must faithfully follow.

Can you fill the robes of those who went before you? And would someone want to fill yours when you leave this life on earth?

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