13 May 2007

The Once and Future Dean

One of the pleasant perks of Ann & Andrew's wedding was the opportunity to work with Dr. Daniel Reuning, who served as the organist. He's not only a dear friend and colleague, but one of my own father's in Christ. I had him for more than one course at the seminary, including an introduction to the theology and practice of Lutheran worship. I wish I could have had more courses from him.

During my time at the seminary, Dr. Reuning was the on-again, off-again, on-again Dean of the Chapel. The "off-again" was due to synodical politics. But the "on-again" was every bit as instructive as any of my courses. It was especially in the seminary chapel that I learned to know and love the Lord's Liturgy of the Gospel, as well as the Church's morning and evening sacrifice of prayer, her Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs of faith. Where my life has gone since then is due in no small part to what I received and learned from Dean Reuning.

As a pastor, I have had the privilege of serving with Dr. Reuning on the Lectionary Commitee of the Lutheran Hymnal Project (from 1998 until 2006). He also did me the honor of having me come to preach and celebrate the Divine Service in the seminary chapel, usually three or four times a year, from 1997 until his retirement. That was always a humbling experience, but no less so, one of the greatest joys I have had in the Office of the Holy Ministry.

The chance to share the last few days with Dr. Reuning was a blessing and a privilege. It will be one of those precious memories I savor in the years to come, as I consider a father in Christ who is also a colleague and a friend.

It appears that another friend and colleague is to be the future Dean of the Chapel, and I am pleased for him. He will serve faithfully and well, of that I have no doubt. I hope that he will also continue to be my friend and colleague, too, as one can never have too many friends and colleagues, and I rather cherish those I do have. This friend, specifically, has been a tremendous help to me in many different ways over the past ten years. He has been patient with me, even when I have been impetuous; and he's always been kind and encouraging. He even taught me how to carry on cordial and constructive e-mail correspondence! For all of that, though he is a few years older than I am, he's not so much a father in Christ as he is a brother and a peer. I don't say that as a complaint. I'm just struck by the fact that the generation of my fathers is waning, and the men of my own generation are stepping up to assume the leadership of the Church on earth in our day.

No comments: