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Looking for Ezekiel

by davesandel on August 24th, 2021

Tuesday, August 24, 2021                              (today’s lectionary)

Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

Looking for Ezekiel

The angel spoke to me, saying, “Come here. I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

Visiting Mom in Lincoln yesterday, I realized how much of a shell she has become of her former self. Of course, her sweetness emerges at times, and at other times her frustration and pain put a sharp edge on her words. She can’t breathe well, and she can only hear me when her temperamental hearing aids are perfectly placed in her ears. In other words, not very often.

Mary Kay, John and I (when I’m here) spend time with her. Every day two nurses also spend time with her. The nurses have become her friends over the last few years, doing jigsaw puzzles with her, fixing and eating meals together, putting her to bed, all the good stuff. I love to listen to her evening prayers, as she settles into bed. She remembers them perfectly.

He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like jasper, clear as crystal, a precious stone.

Now all of us family and friends are doing less friend-stuff and more nurse-stuff. She’s trying to learn to control her hyper-ventilating when she walks to the bathroom and back, out of breath and near panic. She wants to be pushed in her wheelchair to the bedroom. She sleeps fitfully at night, and then off and on all day in her big chair. When she’s alert she reads poetry and history and does word puzzles. If she can hear me, she wants to know my news. We worked up her family tree yesterday morning. She said, accurately, that she has no contemporary friends left alive. They’re all gone.

Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom and speak of your might.

Last night she ate a whole fried catfish, corn and a baked potato, sitting in her chair with a plate while John and I sat at the kitchen table, eating, talking and laughing as we always do. We discussed our intentions as far as burial plots and plans are concerned. Mom and Dad put their money where they thoughts were twenty-five years ago, so everything is settled. Their stone in the Mt. Pulaski cemetery was long ago inscribed with everything except the last date.

Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations.

We’re not that enthusiastic about our own plans. John told me about Harmony Cemetery, near where he pastured cattle years ago, the cows he has loved all his life. Why not get buried there? He thinks it will be peaceful for visitors, and certainly peaceful for he and his wife, even if they wonder if and when a cow or two will get loose and wander over to pluck some grass growing on their graves.

Sounds really good to me, stopping off at Harmony Cemetery. It would be a fine resting place after his lifetime on Elim Acres, which in the Egyptian desert was not far from the Desert of Sin. John will be traveling to that Desert (Lincoln) this weekend to help judge a BBQ contest during the annual Balloons Over Route 66 Festival. I plan to be there too, to eat some of the barbeque, and heckle him if I can.

Mom won’t be going this year, and that’s OK. I kiss her on the forehead or on the lips, and she smiles wide. Perhaps her love language had been words of affirmation, but that has morphed to physical touch now. She is half here … and half there. Today she asked me to open her Bible to Ezekiel. I opened it to Jeremiah and told her Ezekiel was the next book. I think she made the effort to get there.

Earlier in the morning she asked for a copy of the Augsburg Confession, a thick theology written by Martin Luther in 1531. Our home church was founded 150 years ago, with the name Zion Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, Illinois Synod, Lincoln, Illinois. It began with twelve members and has grown much since then. I listen to the service when I drive home from Texas. Its radio program has been on Lincoln’s radio station WPRC since 1943. I remember most of the liturgy, which has changed very little, and sing out loud in the car.

Last Sunday, after the 8 am service and Sunday School, cars lined up outside the church and paraded over to the Lutheran School on the outskirts of town. If Pastor Mark Thompson remembered his orders of service (he asked the congregation for help), they held their second service at 10:30 under the spreading shade trees and a 40×40 tent. A fine Lutheran potluck followed, then an ice cream truck with several flavors of ice cream at 3, and a special Vespers service at 4:30.

All of this would have been part of our family’s Sunday when we were growing up. Mary Kay, John and I might be nursing Mom now, but she was wrangling us then. She would have made scalloped potatoes, maybe, or green bean casserole. We would have eaten it. And she would have made sure there was no cow manure hidden on the bottom of my shoes or John’s, just in case we had to kneel in the front of the church to take communion.

At the twelve gates of the holy city, twelve angels were stationed. The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

Like I said, she’s half here … and half there. She should get her brand new copy of the Augsburg Confession on Thursday, shipped for free by the biggest book store in the world.

(Revelation 21, Psalm 145, John 1)

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