Saturday, February 20, 2021

Ted Blomenberg

 Theodore Paul Blomenberg
Born: July 28, 1944
Baptized into Christ: August 20, 1944
Confirmed in the Faith: March 30, 1958
With Christ in Peace: February 11, 2021
Committal Service: February 20, 2021

‘It all boils down to two’

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus, lead Thou on till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless, 
We will follow calm and fearless,
Guide us by Thy hand
To our Fatherland.

If the way be drear,
If the foe be near,
Let not faithless fears o’ertake us;
Let not faith and hope forsake us;
For through many a woe
To our home we go.

When we seek relief
From a long felt grief,
When temptations come alluring,
Make us patient and enduring,
Show us that bright shore
Where we weep no more.

Jesus, lead Thou on
Till our rest is won.
Heav’nly leader, still direct us,
Still support, console, protect us,
Till we safely stand
In our fatherland. 

Death is so limited…
It has not crippled love,
It has not shattered hope,
It has not corroded faith,
It has not eaten away peace
   Nor destroyed confidence

It has not killed friendship,
It has not shut out memories,
It has not silenced courage,
It has not invaded the soul,
   Nor reduced eternal life.

It has not quenched the Spirit, 
It cannot, has not,
   Nor will not lessen the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! 

Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come.  Lord Jesus, bless Thy Word, that we might trust in Thee.

As an onion has quite a few layers and complexities; when we recall and reflect on the life and personality of Theodore Blomenberg; referred to most of us in this community simply as ‘Dr. Ted,’ there were many. 

He was a man of superior intellect. Yet he could converse with the most common of folk. He never put on airs. He was who he was, comfortable in his own skin. 

Ted was a great story teller. Perhaps, portions of his tales might sometimes, possibly, have been embellished. Yet, they were told to convey and drive home a point that would not soon be forgotten.

Ted was a master craftsman when it came to his woodworking skills. And while many might have grown weary or even frustrated with his procrastination at times; after all, he worked on his own schedule, I recall vividly the day when Lydia needed a crèche for her nativity figurines. 

Tammy told her, ‘If you want him to make something you’ll have to ask him.’ Immediately Lydia picked up the phone. Ted had one constructed from wood from his shop in a matter of hours. It still adorns our tree every Christmas. One of Henry and Lydia’s earliest remembrances of this community was Samson Ted’s beloved Newfoundland.

Today some might call Ted a minimalist - intentionally living with only the things he would really need—yet he was a curator of countless treasures; books, manuscripts, music and art. In the summer the neighbors would be serenaded with one of his many organ recordings from his vast collection.

Perhaps his greatest legacy in this community is the restoration project of the Wyneken house which he alone spearheaded. The relocation and restoration of this house became Ted’s labor of love for many years.  Ultimately, Ted’s continued efforts attracted additional support and led to the formation in 2004 of The Friends of Wyneken, a committee of members of the Indiana German Heritage Society. Ted served as president of the Friends of Wyneken for several years.

In the many conversations Ted and I had over the years, I recall vividly his assessment; “All of Scripture can be boiled down to two words…’Do’ and ‘Done.’ That observance leads to the text for this day. 

St. Paul teaches: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9    

The only reason we have gathered here today is the passing of Ted Blomenberg. We’re here for a funeral because Ted Blomenberg is dead. The Scriptures remind us clearly, “The wages of sin is death…” – Romans 6:23 and, “The soul that sinneth, it shall surely die.” Exodus 18:20 Death is the result of man’s rebellion against God. 

This rebellion is the cause of all the strife and all that is wrong in this world. It leads to man’s separation from God and it fractures human relationships. It tears at the fabric of our being and there is nothing you or I or anyone can do to change its outcome other than to admit it’s sting, confess your wrong, and cling to Christ and Christ alone who came into this world to rid the stain and scourge of sin once and for all. Yes, it all boils down to two; ‘Do’ and ‘Done.’ 

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

We are saved; redeemed, brought to faith, lead into God’s family not by good deeds, not by church membership, but by simply trusting in Jesus Christ. Being faithful does not mean living a perfect life. Being faithful is more than ‘good thoughts, good words, good deeds.’ We are fallen creatures; poor, miserable sinners. We find ourselves living outside of Eden.

Being faithful is simply trusting, believing, and clinging to all of the Father’s promises which point us to Jesus and His work.

It all boils down to two; do and done.  Simply stated, your faith is anchored and attached to a person and a place.

That person is your Savior Jesus Christ.

This revelation is not found in man's wisdom. The wisdom of man as much as he knows is still limited. Paul tells us - some seek signs, while others demand proof. If you are seeking God by human means you will be terribly disappointed. 

God's wisdom; that is, the wisdom which is found in the Gospel; gives knowledge. And this knowledge is power. And the power of God leads us to know a person. The Lord Jesus. And it is the Holy Spirit which has led Ted to faith in Christ. 

Of all the things you must know. They are but two; a person and a place.
And that place is Golgotha, the place of the cross; where redemption was won for Ted, for you and for the entire world.  

The proclamation of Christ and Him crucified is the power of God. This is what the Spirit works in you. This makes you wise to salvation. It is your only weapon in the LORD's arsenal you have at your disposal. Use it well.  It is the Word of the Gospel. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel..." says St. Paul,” for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes," - Romans 1:16

It is all gift. Remember Paul’s words,   "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9 

And the Holy Spirit always makes it personal. For it is for you!  Soon, and we can only hope, very soon; the weather will break. Our farmers will get back to their fields. I will tend to my garden. In spring we should all smell like dirt. One of my last encounters with Ted was in early October. The last of his tomatoes had finally ripened and he was more than eager to give them away.  

The Holy Spirit we are told calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps us.

 He calls us by the Gospel –He plants the seed of faith into your heart.

He gathers – He places you into His garden the Church. 

He enlightens us with His gifts - which causes growth toward the light of the gospel.

He sanctifies – the flowers and fruits of good works are demonstrated uniquely as no two Christians are ever alike. Ted was given the opportunity to use his gifts for the betterment of those around him. He was a sermon in shoes. 

He also keeps you –He waters and nurtures the plant of faith so that it remains ever green.

All you need to know boils down to two; do and done. And when you consider all that has been done for you - consider both a person and a place. Christ and the cross. This is the LORD's work. And we rejoice in it. 

Ilustration The Crucifixion,  from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, The Book of Books in Pictures. Copyright © WLS permission granted for personal and congregational use. .

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