Meet Pastor Dan
Pastor Dan Forsgren and his family arrived in North Idaho October, 2014. Dan and Sarah have been married for 17 years, and have three children: Donny (15), Karis (11), and William (9).
Leading this Coeur d'Alene congregation includes Sunday morning messages to our children, and all manner of faith formation, including the occasional stint as a Christmas extra!
All Saints Day
I always get a little down this time of year. Though Fall is my favorite season, the leaves, the crispness in the air, the smell of a cold morning giving way to an afternoon of sunshine and warmth, even the rain, the way it’s steady pitter-pattering sounds on the windows and roofs; this season is one of my favorites. But under all that there is something that ends up weighing on me. As we transition from our Reformation festivities to the coming of All Saints Sunday, those names that we read, they run through my head, those names of those saints that have gone before us, those we have lost from the ranks of Trinity Lutheran Church this past year.
Of course, it is not only those saints, but also the ones in my own life that now rest fully in the promises of our risen Lord; those who have come to know life and life abundant. Shouldn’t it be a celebration? Isn’t life in the time, space, eternity, beyond this one what we as Christians place our hope and trust in? Yes, that is our hope, our faith tells us that life in this world is not the end of all things, but rather, the beginning of a whole new adventure.
Saturday the 26th of October, we held a graveside service for Ralph Capaul, Ralph’s memorial service was last February, we interred Ralph’s ashes next to his wife the day before their 67th wedding anniversary. It was fitting that the two of them be laid together and joined together. I hope it was healing for his family. It was an honor to be there, to be a part of another goodbye, to stand in reverent silence as military honors were done, as the family placed a few more items in the burial container, to see tears, hear laughter, to feel the love shared between those folks.
Then, following our Reformation Sunday service and potluck, the next day I headed to Lutherhaven for our Bishop’s Convocation. Professor Matt Skinner talked about the book of Acts, we worshipped, engaged in fellowship, had time to renew in a beautiful setting - those of you who have had the privilege of spending time at Lutherhaven know what I mean. The last evening, we held a remembrance of the saints; we were encouraged to light candles, to remember those saints who have had an impact on our own lives. This picture is of those
candles lit, on the altar; some lit one candle some lit many, but each was there
representing one or more people who we miss dearly in our lives.
And I realize why I feel a little down this time of year, it is because I know this
type of celebration is coming. It is a celebration; we celebrate the lives of those
who have helped to form us into the Communion of Saints. And, it is the grief felt
knowing that there is a hole in our lives where they once were. I believe and trust
that we will one day see them again, but I still miss them, and sitting in that moment,
emotions running high, I feel that loss more profoundly.
I remember. I don’t want to forget. I need those moments in my life. Those moments of remembrance, not in the back of my mind but right up front. I need those moments because those people have helped to form me into the person I am, the faith that I have is a continuation of the faith that they have, the living faith of the dead… and my heart feels a little lighter.
The Communion of Saints does not stop with those people though. It is instead, the entire Christian Church, the saints who have died in the faith yes, but also those saints living here and now. It does not end with the people in our congregation, in our families, both living and dead, but also is comprised of Kurdish Christians in Syria who know a persecution I never will. It is in the countless children of God who have died nameless on our streets, those who continue to live being excluded for who they are; they gather in churches across the country every week, and they fear entering a church because they have been taught they are not worthy of God’s love.
I get a little down this time of year, but I live in faith, hope, and trust in the coming Kingdom of God, and in the love of God that tells me the kingdom is right here right now; the Communion of Saints living and those alive with and in Christ. Remember the Saints!