Marvin Repinski: Naming names who have loved us

Published 5:22 pm Friday, December 16, 2022

Crisis thinking is to be banished as we face a new year. To think only in terms of our problems, our hurts are another way of throwing Jesus out of the straw bed in a stable. There is more and I write this with myself and faithful readers in mind: We have the potential of welcoming a Divine Spirit — known by many as God speaking through Jesus or just ending up being bored by alternatives. There is more for us. A better way beckons!

Among the many divisions, traditions, interpretations, convictions, applications, and even “fenced in” views claiming “my way,” dismissing all other views — is among the responses to Christianity. The creation of conflict within the Christian family only leaves us with blisters and wounds. My invitation is to pull the shades up, clean the windows, and acknowledge the light from many sources. My foundational response to a Christian posture is embedded in the Bible, the most basic verse? “Jesus speaking — “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:17).

In reading a book with a chapter on the calling of doctors and hospital staff people, my heart takes a paragraph to my own mind. Realizing that talking about “the will of God” is very tricky, even misunderstood and difficult to put into words. I note also, there are people  and groups who are adamant they do know God’s will. No doubt there is a great comfort in a person having this assurance. The reasonable response is that such a claim is an act of faith.

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I am today reminiscing of last evening’s charge conference meeting. I, as a member, attended Austin’s First United Methodist Church. The high point of that gathering was the full vote of approval of those present for an adventurous person, roots in Austin, who will continue her journey to be ordained to pastoral work in our denomination. Who, you ask? Vickie Hargrave Spyhalski. She will continue her studies and assisting in church work and preaching, as we, with her, are looking forward to the date of a Bishop’s appointment. Glory!

Among the deeply moving historical memories of First Church, that today, all comes back to me, is that my children’s grandfather, the Rev. Stanley Hanson was in the 1950s a pastor at this church. He died of an accident at the time of his being a pastor at First Church. There is a heritage of ministry that continues that we thankfully reflect on many of our loved ones. Do I believe in some form of what I term “mysterious,” or life beyond our present journey? Yes, by faith.

You may reflect, especially in these days, special memories with your friends and family. Please do. Name the names — it is what our souls long for!

My seminary experience at a Twin Cities Lutheran school was formative and enjoyable,  especially the friendship with a leader who is now the administrator of a national organization. This, an umbrella group for men and women, their vocations in the family counseling and therapy areas. Who? Of course — a 65 year friendship, William Hiebert. Mountain Lake, take a bow; you produce great talent! Of course, like the greater Mower County.

I’m indebted to the extended Schindler family, some of them nurturing, dedicated people  of Barnesville, Minnesota. My very challenging bookish and music person, Becky, is part of that tribe. I add to that Schindler name, Dr. Richard, deceased, and Belita, who, as I note, assists in many area organizations. Is she the “engine” behind all the progress of the Paramount Theatre?

Family, for me, has been such an assortment of people. Who were the rare ones who were at your side at a time of loss, grief, and any confusions.

My mother, Mildred, though lame all her life, did not have a lame heart; I think of her Pentecostal Church where she gave so many many hours of time with, and shopping for a lady. Viewed as old, yes, it was the one known in our church as “the loving, blind Mrs. Richmire.” Mother was there — and often.

While turning it over in my mind, I have questions. My mother’s mother was born in Ukraine, moving to Poland, and then immigrating to Canada, by way of Chicago, (I still long ago have relatives there), and then to Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Because of my mother’s “don’t disturb my religious devotion,” she was undoubtedly a committed Roman Catholic. All her life, after converting to Protestantism, she debated with the Pope. The upshot of what I firmly believe, I, as a child, was baptized by a priest in the Roman Catholic Church I was born at the time my parents were Catholic. Would it not be natural, or expected that Marvin Eugene be baptized?

We, in these last days of 2022, are thinking of those who have cared for us and those who we have offered our care, friendship and love. We receive this and give this by the grace of God.