RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
by Ron Ginther
Born 1857-Died 1857
bright with hope for you,
but you didn't see much of life,
In a little wooden box
like a doll,
with a woolen knit blanket
for a funereal pall?
If in winter, they waited
for the thaw to begin--
so a spot could be dug
and your remains be laid in.
Was there divine service
at Hove Stone Church for you?
Did the bell in the tower toll slowly
across Sogn's waters so cold and blue?
There were perhaps flowers
from the little wild ones that grow.
You know, the ones that pop first up
right through the ice and snow.
No one need plant them,
these slopes thus adorned
with purple and gold
all along the sides of
the great Fjord of Sogn.
Your parents and family
from Vik and Bergen sailed far away--
and somewhere by ancient Hove Stone Church
do you still lay?
And for you what was left?
What tears and what thoughts
fade in Life's book like forgotten Forget-me-nots?
Yet, Fellow Traveler,
it's not how much we do,
or how long we may manage to live,
we're complete in Christ,
that's our whole life goal.
And if our life proves a fragment like lil' Ole's,
the soul's still found whole
on that coming Great Morn no church bell will solemnly toll.
Ole, we'll meet you grown up in heaven,
as surely as Christ was raised!
You were the first of the Stadem brethren,
and these new bodies he'll give us--
oh, we'll be amazed!
There's a victory in Resurrection,
that comes with Christ's defeat of Death--
the moment darkness seemed to have triumphed,
Christ took Ole of the Seed of Japheth.
From the far Sogn Fjord he drew him
to raise him on high--
Ole, you knew glory in angels' care,
even as hands closed your coffin with a sigh.
Born 1863-Died 1909
his name alone,
it was dear enough to be given a second time,
with hopes with you it would then shine.
They gave it to you, the First-born's brother,
who never would marry,
and lived with perhaps Martin.
At forty-six you expired,
to be laid by Sjur,
the scion who both Oles
Two years later Oline joined Sjur and you
in Pleasant Lutheran Cemetery--
their markers we can view.
Two Oles who never achieved
what folks like to call "full life,"
the first dying a baby,
the second living without children and wife.
Both had no issue,
so what was their legacy?
They came and departed naked,
as Scripture says it will be.
Yet both knew Christian parents' love,
by God's grace was given them,
and their souls?
That's all that really matters,
not long life, just God's loving "Welcome!"
We say we believe--
well, do we believe
that we with Christ were raised from the Dead?
I choose to believe God's own report,
that it all has happened as he said!
Or, if you can't take this Faith
and use flaws for excuse
that you think you see
in parents who believe--
then why not take the Perfection of Christ?
Don't you know your parents
loved you and still for you grieve?
The time now is gone, farspent,
that we can cultivate hurt feelings
or some remembered offense.
Nor should you delay what you, Man, must do.
Before God each of us stands a child
He came to save and to shepherd, too.
If you take but a part,
but you don't take the rest,
how are you assured your part is true?
It will take some faith,
for we can't humanly understand
all the things that God has done
by his almighty hand.
Nor can we explain everything that goes wrong--
like little Ole long ago,
born only to die beside the Sogn.
Oh, come! Don't cry,"It's unfair!"
That's the way that life down here goes.
There's going to be a bitter thorn
with the merry red rose.
Evil comes to both good and unjust,
so there's no better, wiser thing
than simple, childlike trust.