In June 1967, I think the 11th, I was ordained at Christ Lutheran Church, Pipe Lake, the little country church where I was baptized and confirmed as were my parents and my brothers. The church where in 1947 an age six “Ronny” recited his Christmas piece about Santa Claus etc., from the Happy Corners School program at the Christmas Eve children’s program at the church.
For the ordination, Becky and I had just returned from our “Honeymoon” trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. But on the evening of my ordination, when I heard St. Paul’s word concerning preaching the word in season and out of season and have tried to keep Paul’s advice through the years, even now on Facebook, sometimes with trepidation, I received two gifts that I remember.
The first was a home communion kit from my cousins. I have used that for the last 52 years and I am happy to report, oldest son Nathan hasn’t eaten my communion wafers since about 1969 when my office was in our home in Winona, Mn. and he was not quite two years of age.
The other gift was a Chi Rho ring from the congregation. Chi Rho, XP, are the first two letters in Christ. Together they form both a manger and a crucifix (Christ on the cross) though one leg of the X has been lost. The ring as gained attention from time to time at gas stations etc. But none so strange as the time when we were camping in Door County for a couple of days and before leaving went to an orchard to pick cherries. The lady who greeted us looked and said, “Are you a Missouri Synod Pastor?” I was stunned since I was looking as little like a pastor as I could look. It turned out her son attended the sem. and had similar ring.
This morning the Physicians Asst for my primary care doctor asked about the ring. She had seen it the last time I was in and thought it quite unusual. So, I had an opportunity talk about Christ, while describing the Chi Rho ring. It’s been my best witnessing tool for 52 years.