Sunday - The Ascension of the Lord - leaving His disciples - going to Heaven - to take His seat at the right hand of his Father. Like we mere mortals - after spending some time in apprenticeship - we move from student to crafts person - educated in the ways of whatever craft we have selected. Spending some thirty - three years living among His people - God experiencing humanity through the life of Jesus - better prepared to understand how people - think - feel - tick. Although God has all knowledge - His gift of Free Will - a variable He could not know - until He became man himself - experienced it for Himself in daily life. In that time - He listened - reasoned - debated - with the very people He gave life to. Completing His apprenticeship - His time on Earth completed - time to return to His Father.
So it is and will be with us. Our lives are short - compared to time itself - each one of us is here - on Earth - living lives as full as we chose to fill them. Some end their lives - relatively empty - having acquired little while they were alive. Others - like my good friend - Deacon Jerome Heitschmidt - who died May 15th - left this life completely filled. Filled with the experiences he shared with his family - his wife - his friends. Deacon Jerry was a leader - filled his personal life and the lives of all who knew him with prayer - joy - celebration of all that God gives each of us. Because of Deacon Jerry - many programs were started - given new life - because of the energy he brought into those programs. The lives he touched - all better now because he took the time - interest - in others. Deacon Jerry - now ascended to his heavenly reward - definitely used his gift of Free Will to accept Jesus as his savior - freely choosing ordination to become a deacon - freely electing to serve God's people in Illinois - California - Internationally. To Deacon Jerry I owe many thank yous for encouraging me to travel to Israel with him which led to a pilgrimage ministry which has flourished over ten years. It was on pilgrimage to the Holy Land - when we walked in the steps of Jesus - along with our wives and during our private pilgrimage to Poland where we discovered churches in Poland not normally visited when on pilgrimage. His constant smile - a gift to all - will remain with each of us. Like Jesus - our brother Deacon Jerry now - rising to heaven to take his place at the altar of the Lord. Rest in Peace - Good and Faithful Servant - until we meet again.
Deacon Don - Father Dan - Deacon Jerry - Deacon Dale at Deacon Jerry's Ordination