For a good number of you, I’m confident in saying that it probably feels as though there is an unfillable hole in our hearts from the loss of our dear Lorraine Haas. She was so vibrant and lovely in her life of faith in this place—not only serving her Lord and His people with such joy, but doing so with what seemed like and unearthly stamina. She was always ready and on call to meet the needs, no matter what they might be, and she did so with a smile that could peel back even the thickest shell covering the hardest of hearts.
I know you miss her. I do, too.
I want you to know something about her that I, as her pastor, knew and really rather appreciated. Next week, we will be stepping into Lorraine’s favorite time of the Church Year. Of course, like most faithful Christians, Christmas is a favorite time, but Lorraine made sure that I knew that she adored the seasons of Lent and Easter. And why? Because of what sits at the heart of these pinnacle seasons: The precise spectrum of the death of the sinless Son of God for her sins and for the sins of the whole world, and the cracking open of a tomb at Easter that was powerless to hold that same Lord bound to everlasting darkness. Lorraine loved the very potent imagery of Ash Wednesday—the palling of ash upon man as a reminder of the need for rescue—and the 40 days that follow, having at their core the somber reality of what our loving Lord would do so that we would not be lost to sin, but rather would be delivered through His person and work. Lent is a sobering time for us here at Our Savior. We don’t handle it carelessly. We go into it with deep meaning, intending everything we say and do as we keep our eyes on the Lord and we follow Him to Calvary. And when Good Friday is at its deepest and darkest, the Baptismal flame of the Easter Vigil is kindled the very next day and we go forth into a new time, a new day, one that is given to us by faith in Jesus, the risen and victorious Lord.
In the resurrection of Jesus, everything is different now. Death is disarmed. We are no longer its hostages. No wonder Lorraine would so dearly love this apex of the cosmic drama. It’s the very work of Jesus on display for our eternal life!
I encourage you to reflect upon these things and make plans to be with us next Wednesday (March 1) for Ash Wednesday at 7:00 PM. In fact, I am willing to say that Ash Wednesday, apart from Holy Week and Easter itself, is one of the most important Divine Services all year long. You will hear the hardest most gripping news, but it will be counter-punched by the most joyous response and action of God on your behalf. Your heart will be well-served, and I dare say you’ll experience for yourself just why someone so dear to us—Lorraine Emma Haas—held these sights, sounds, and gatherings together with all of you and her Savior so dear to her heart.