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Oh, How Blest Are They

“Oh, how blest are they whose toils are ended, Who through death have unto God ascended! They have arisen From the cares which keep us still in prison.”

“Christ has wiped away their tear forever; They have that for which we still endeavor. By them are chanted Songs that ne’er to mortal ears were granted.”

“Oh, How Blest Are They”, LSB 679 sts 1 & 4

Dear brothers and sister in Christ,

Some of you, by now, have heard the news that Mike Shinabarger was called home to the Lord on Wednesday morning. Mike had been suffering for a long time and now rests at peace, his race run, his reward at hand.

Mike and Glenda joined Faith Lutheran Church, Dunedin, in February of 2017—five months before I arrived that summer. I recall him supervising the moving of my family’s furniture into our new home. Health issues kept him from lifting a single box, but his smile and running commentary seemed to lighten the burdens of those who did.

It wasn’t long after my installation when he stepped up to serve as our Head Elder. Mike had big dreams for our congregation. He knew how to recruit people to get things done and had a heart as big as any I’ve known. His love for the Lord and for his neighbors was unquestionable. Sadly, as his health continued to deteriorate, in 2019 he was forced to step down from this position. Even so, I could still count on him to be informed and to offer up invaluable advice every time I would go to visit.

I can’t express how hard it was for me not to have the opportunity to say, “goodbye”, or to celebrate the Lord’s Supper here on earth with him one last time. Yet, now he is without pain, sorrow, or tears, and I know every time I celebrate the Sacrament of the Altar, I join Mike and the “angels and archangels and all the company of heaven”, as we laud and magnify Christ’s glorious name. For Mike that feast is without end. For the rest of us, that day will come when our faith becomes sight and we will again stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mike, and all the saints, at the marriage feast of the Lamb. Until then, we hold fast to the hope that is ours in Christ Jesus.

Your Servant in Christ,

Pastor Sorenson