31 October 2004

Prayers requested

I do not usually get choked up in church, but this morning I did. We sang the beautiful eucharistic hymn, Gift of Finest Wheat (click here for the music), which is easily one of my favourites. Besides communicating so movingly the gift of Christ for our nourishment, it carries associations in my mind with the church where I first heard it and hence with two wonderful people who were part of it, Chuck and Jean Terpstra. My intial contact with this hymn was in December 1986 at South Bend Christian Reformed Church, just days before I flew up to Hamilton to interview for the position at Redeemer which I currently occupy. The haunting tune stayed with me throughout the interview process and on the planes between Chicago and Toronto.

Chuck was pastor of South Bend CRC at the time. It was my home church while I was a graduate student at Notre Dame, and he and his wife became cherished friends. After his retirement some years ago, he and Jean moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where three of their children live. They were among those who travelled to Chicago for Nancy's and my wedding back in 1996. Up until recently he was a faithful reader of this blog.

Yesterday afternoon I spoke with Chuck and Jean by phone after having heard from a mutual friend. Chuck is quite ill and sounded weaker than I could ever have imagined. Hence my heavy heart this morning on hearing the song.

There is nothing more to be said except that I would deeply appreciate your prayers for the Terpstras at this time.

Kyrie eleison.

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