Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Good Memory of Wiest and Palm Sunday

As I was driving to Walmart today to pick up a few things, I drove past the location of the local palm reader and spiritualist, Ann Taylor. Her place happens to be right next door to Our Father's Lutheran Church, where Pastor Stephen Wiest of blessed memory served for a few years before his death. I was reminded of how Pastor Wiest once went over to visit her in the week leading up to Palm Sunday. Of course, the timing of the visit was meant to be a little bit of a joke, as if Palm Sunday had anything to do with her line of work. But he used the occasion as a serious opportunity to invite her to come to church and hear the Word of Christ. I don't think she took him up on the offer, but it brought to mind again what a special character Father Wiest was and how his doctorate and learning never kept him from being able to talk to anyone. He especially seemed to revel in speaking to those on the fringes who wouldn't normally be targeted by missions experts as those who were open to hearing the Gospel. Looking back, I still can't believe that he was removed from the campus ministry at UW-Milwaukee. That was just the sort of place he belonged, though he was well-received in the more "normal" congregational settings like Our Father's, too. I imagine the only palm reading Pastor Wiest would've encouraged was the kind done by Thomas the week after Easter, seeing the scarred hands and side of the risen Jesus in the body and blood of the Sacrament, "reading" and hearing the Word of peace and forgiveness that comes from the Savior in the Supper to poor sinners like us.

Blessed be the memory of Stephen Wiest. And have a blessed Palm Sunday!

P.S.--Ann Taylor, the palm reader, had a "For Sale" sign out in front of her place for quite a while. But the place never sold. Shouldn't she have foreseen that?

1 comment:

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Fr. Koch,

Thanks for the Wiest memory. His preaching and life still resonate in my heart.