Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 – Song of the Suffering Servant
Psalm 22 – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Hebrews 10:16-25– Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice for sins. New covenant (quoting Jeremiah). Access to the holy of holies.
or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 – Because he suffered, we now approach the throne of grace.
John 18:1 – 19:42 – The Passion.
For this year’s Good Friday Meditation, I share with you this meditation by John McCullough-Bade and Lawrence Bade at the occasion of their mother’s death. John & Lawrence are both pastors in our synod. Frieda’s funeral was held last month on March 5, 2012 in Cuero, Texas.
And you most kind and gentle Death
Waiting to hush our final breath
O praise Him, Alleluia!
– St. Francis of Assisi
The Four “F’s” Of Frieda Bade
March 5, 2012
John McCullough-Bade & Lawrence Bade
As we gather today to remember, reflect upon,
and give thanks for the life of Frieda Sager Bade –
This is no ordinary footstool.
On this stool sat many a grand and great-grand child
at the little, 2-ft-high, just-the-right-sized table in the kitchen –
a table of preparation – just the right size for Mom
and all who gathered with her
as they played real patty cakes with yeast and flour
learning from Mom the art of making mouth-watering rolls,
co-creating homemade pie crusts with her,
peeling buckets of peaches freshly picked off the tree
shelling pounds of cracked pecans.
No, this is no ordinary footstool,
for through its four legs,
this stool tells the four pillars – the four “F’s” –
that define the life story of the woman we know and love – Mom.
not a three-legged stool often used as example, but
four-legged to embrace the fullness of life – Mom’s life.
The first “F” is of course,
Mom’s earthly life was begun,
sustained, and ended
At her birth,
she was claimed by her earthly father –
a man lovingly called “Papa” by his 10 children –
as a loved child.
And at her baptism,
she was claimed as a beloved child by her heavenly Father –
a God she lovingly also called “Papa”
as she daily prayed, “Our Father” “Abba” “Papa.”
At her confirmation,
Mom affirmed the gift of faith and entrusted her life
to the loving care of her heavenly Father,
and throughout her life,
she strove to live out her Confirmation verse from Colossians 3:
“Whatsoever you do in word and deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Her faith was the pillar upon which her whole life rested.
And what a strong pillar it was for her
as she neared the end of her life,
she relied upon this sturdy rod – faith – to sustain her.
A couple of weeks ago,
I was staying with Mom overnight,
and I came by her bedside to say good night.
I knew that Mom and Dad
had always begun and ended each day in prayer,
so I asked her if she wanted to pray a bedtime prayer.
We began the prayer Mom had taught all her children:
“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord, my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
If I should live another day,
I pray the Lord to guide my way.”
She spoke the words with conviction
and a deep assurance, even as she was declining physically.
I was feeling a certain satisfaction
that I had remembered the words
to this simple prayer,
when suddenly she launched into the words of the childhood hymn
her family sang at bedtime:
“Now to gain a night’s repose, I mine eyes in sleep must close.
Father, let thine eyes divine Rest upon this bed of mine.”
She continued with three more verses
and then she prayed the prayer (again, all four verses)
this time in German,
All from memory.
And then she gave a theological reflection on the verses
that would rival a seminary professor’s –
a personal testimony on the meaning of those words
A theologian she was and a worker in the church
taking many opportunities to share faith and leadership
Faith – the first and primary leg
on the footstool of Mom’s life.
The second “F” is family.
Mom’s family began for her in 1918,
the youngest and last surviving of 10 children.
She was born into a family of German ancestry
grounded in faith with life revolving around the church
surrounded by music – the whole family being the orchestra
for Sunday afternoon concerts
graced with a humility focused not on self but on others,
gifted with German resolve and a strong work ethic.
Family began again for Mom in 1940
when our Dad said, “I do”
and they promised to love and care for each other,
and they did,
for 69 years of married life together….
years of bliss and of challenge,
years of bounty and years of drought…
in work and in play
in times of war and times of peace,
the man up front and the woman standing by his side
with her love and support.
And then came a new birth …
and a new birth …. and a new birth ….and a new birth …
Seven times over…
of teaching and learning,
of patience and pride,
of encouragement and challenge
of health and of illness.
But always supported by the leg and pillar of family – our 2nd “F” of our kitchen footstool.
And the 3rd. –
the pillar of FARMING.
My, how Mom loved the land –
the pastoral meadows
the freshly tilled soil
the cornucopia of the garden:
carrots, onions, tomatoes, okra, egg plant
sweet corn and even sweeter strawberries.
and the pantry and freezer filled for a whole year of enjoyment.
And she loved the creatures of the land –
turkeys and chickens,
bouncing baby calves,
wild deer and yes, even wild hogs.
Out of their love for the land,
Mom and Dad found their calling
and vocation and livelihood
as caretakers, farmers, ranchers, stewards of God’s good earth.
and out of that vocation came leadership and example
for the whole agricultural enterprise and community
Faith … Family … Farming …
Three legs of Mom’s footstool ….
And the 4th is … Phlox.
(I know “Phlox” is spelled with a “ph”
but it just sounds right, doesn’t it?)
Most spring times on the farm
would include Mom’s delight – a beautiful blanket of wildflowers
in front of the house.
Mom loved flowers
and she spent lots of time in the flower beds.
I think she lived the motto of a gardener:
“A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place.”
Mom always marveled at the beauty of flowers,
In these last years, how she delighted in her patio plants
and flowers cut from the garden for her table.
I think phlox-es were one of her favorite wild blooms.
One can almost hear her singing our opening hymn
“For the beauty of the earth.”
“Christ our God to you we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.”
She saw God’s creation, and she delighted in it.
Faith, Family, Farming, Phlox ….
Mom’s 4 F’s of the kitchen stool…
(I know that makes 5″F’s” …
Math is a strong subject for the Bade family,
as is structural engineering or carpentry for many of us.
But we’ll make an exception here.)
the one whose very life was supported and anchored
in Faith, Family, Farming, and Phlox.
Frieda – Mom –
Her kitchen footstool …. and her life
serves as an object lesson – a testimony –
to family and friends
to the care givers and hospice workers
who provided her solace and care.
Like the kitchen footstool,
with joints that are loose and wobbly,
missing a supportive rung,
Mom has known the weight and weariness
of illness and physical struggle.
She lived in her last months and years the German word …
” aus gefelt, aus gespielt”
“all worn out.”
But her life – weary, worn, yet with a sure confidence and an unwavering trust….
bears witness to the 4 pillars – the 4 legs –
Faith, Family, Farming, and Phlox –
that supported her in this life.
And she is entrusted to the Master Carpenter
One who binds all wounds,
strengthens loose joints,
steadies wobbly legs,
and provides a place to sit and rest
in the promises of life, hope, and salvation.
We say, “Thanks be to God.’
(recited by Mom – Frieda Bade)
Now to gain a night’s repose
I, mine eyes in sleep must close.
Father, let Thine eyes divine
Rest upon this bed of mine.
Should I, Lord, have gone astray
From Thy way this closing day,
Of Thy grace, let me partake;
Pardon me, for Jesus’ sake.
Let my dear ones rest in Thee,
Keeping them from sorrow, free;
Let all people small and large
Be committed to Thy charge.
Unto every troubled soul
Send Thy peace to make it whole.
While night shadows ’round us fall,
God in heaven, guard us all.