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Marvin Repinski: A new year with some new opportunities

A book written in 2002 by William E. Burrows claims my attention today. The title, “By Any Means Necessary,” is about people in the U.S. Air Force. The subtitle is “America’s Heroes.”

With a blight of sad, often difficult memories of 2020, and years before those years with politics of mind-bending conflicts, the overwhelming global virus, and all the events that have broken the dreams of so many, our arms hold weeping heads. And why is there only an echo; no tongue has answers. Maybe someday…

Memories are throbbing in our hearts, although some are pleasant. Others have permanently warped our lives. In the aforementioned book, a dedicatory statement reads, “And to the memory of my friend Mert Davies, a giant among men in all ways, and one of the great heroes of this story for moving the game to a safer place.”

There are so many “games” and a few thoughts may bless us with what is positive, comforting, and long-lasting.

The political situation

Can we believe, against all odds, we have a most ideal country with people hungry for truth and nature’s gift of a grand supply of resources?

Henry Ward Beecher, a clergy person and patriot, wrote, “On the Fourth of July, 1776, the ‘Declaration of American Independence’ was confirmed and promulgated, and two years later, upon the 14th of June, the confederated states assembled, and ordained this glorious national flag… Advance it full high before God and all men as the flag of Liberty.”

It is to these words that in many public gatherings we nurture our talents with honesty and be available to our country’s work and purpose. Slackers and those in the grip of hostile thoughts or actions, please read again!

A nation where all

are welcomed

A verse in the Bible, Psalm 102:18, reads, “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord.” Those of past years and the children who will follow are part of our national landscape!

About the person upon whose shoulders and work of their hands we are indeed humbled and thankful, St. Olaf Lutheran Church of Austin brought together reflections of their 150-year history. The writings of 2017 included a dear statement of faith and longevity. The following is a contribution by Helen Knutson:

“In conversation with Leonard Haugland, I asked him to tell me about his life. His reply, ‘I was born in Lyle, Minnesota, on Dec. 24, 1915, a very special day of Christ’s birth. I was baptized and confirmed at Six Mile Grove Church, which my Dad helped build. I am 101 years and seven months old. Geneva and I had two boys and one girl, and they were baptized and confirmed at St. Olaf. I moved to Austin when I was 35 years old. I now live at St. Mark’s Assisted Living. At 100 years, I had a birthday party. A large crowd came to honor me.’”

We enter a new year. I believe 2021 will grant us renewed opportunities and a time of recovery. Are you with me?

Nation building is

community building

Under the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 3:1, about a time for every matter under heaven, Bonnie Besse Rietz has written with her husband Dr. Tim of ways the policies of acceptance and reaching out enlarge our hearts.

Bonnie, the woman who shows up at about every community event, writes, “After living among our beloved Malagasy friends in Madagascar, what a blessing it is for us to be able to sit beside our faithful Sudanese friends in worship.”

Even though presently we are not hugging and shaking hands, we in the greater Austin community look to a new year. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even go for a swim in the beautiful YMCA pool!

And about Austin, a quote by W. H. Auden:  “I’ll love you till the ocean is folded and hung up to dry. And the seven stars go squawking like geese about the sky.”