Time’s a bitch and Old Man Time is a bastard. I have returned from a week long pilgrimage (not a Hadj) to Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. I had not been back to my alma mater for the annual symposia since 2005. And while a lot has changed my memories never do. My remembrances of times past may dim and shrink but they don’t become any more ethereal or gossamery. If anything, the cruel passage of time acts like an anvil and hammer on my treasured past recollections—shaping and molding each of them into tinier and stronger metal-mental shards of the purest essence.
The above paragraph is a fancy and rococo way to say I suffer from melancholia whenever I revisit the seminary. I am thankful that my “blues” and lost wanderings down “memory lane” do not rise to either the level of depression or morbidity but they do rise up and show me the mirror of old age, the passage of time, and the writer of Ecclesiastes’ inspired lament. Visiting all the old haunts, which include not only old class rooms, study areas, hang-0uts and of course the library, chapel and commons, but even the restrooms, is all an ontological déjà vu to what actually WAS, but somehow is no more…it’s different, it’s changed, it is no longer mine but belongs to a different group. All of the young students truly must increase as I and my own ministry must decrease (at least in the chronological sense). The TLH # 352 “change and decay in all around I see” is writ large on the face and body of every former student classmate I encounter; and there were noticeably fewer of them this time than half a decade ago. Almost all of the professors I had are either retired and gone or dead. And HOW did all my classmates get so dang fat, balding, and creased?
Well, I’m not saying anything new, profound, or really interesting or beneficial. But my only point is that while we the flock are thinned out (if not by losing belly fat J ) sickened, broken and enfeebled, our Good Shepherd is not. Christ the Crucified is as ALIVE and PRESENT at CTS as He has always been. The teaching and preaching and hymnody places our Gracious Alpha/Omega God-Man into the ears and onto the mouths of these new students the exact same way he did for me and my friends in the Paleolithic era of 1991-95. And not only does the Messias continue to endure, transform, and make strong our faith, but His acts of worldly and mediate natural gifts continue each day anew. The bitterly cold Fort Wayne winters make the close gatherings of brothers in Christ all the warmer and cozier. The gifts of conversation, Gemutlichkeit, and laughter fill us each day with the cornucopia of comrades and commiserating saints. Laughter reminds us that not only was there pure and undiluted mirth in pre-fall Eden, but that there will be the supernal sound of righteous laughter and grace filled guffawing at the Table of the Lamb. The Lord sent to me this past week the therapeutic and side-splitting laughter from a new-found friend, seelsorger, and brother-in-arms. The tears of earthly laughter produced in my decaying body by this under-shepherd (the Bishop of Hoisington) was nothing less than a type of the heavenly laughter that we both will share with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the King Himself.
Tempus fugit—to be sure.
Time is a bitch. Old Man Time is a bastard, but The Lord of all space and time endures forever and IS the same, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. In search of lost time? No, not really; found by the Good Shepherd? Amen and Hallelujah!