On episode SIXTEEN of Let the Bird Fly! we welcome back Rev. John Bortulin, who first joined us on episode three (which you can find here, if you missed it). This time we asked Rev. Bortulin to join us for a discussion of death and dying and what it means (and doesn’t mean) for the Christian. Before getting to our discussion, however, Wade cheats with the Scripture Narrative (but in a very “Lutheran” way) by talking about two hymns that he associates with funeral: For All the Saints and Abide with Me. Next we move into a discussion of the first half of the 2017 MLB season, with a special focus on the Tigers and the Brewers. (If you want to know what we thought at the beginning of the season you can go back and listen to the first few episodes.) Somehow that discussion devolves into a “debate” over the relative merits (or lack thereof) of the State of Illinois. In fact, the discussion keeps popping up so much that we considered titling this episode “Death and (Illinois) Taxes.” Rev. Bortulin becomes oddly quiet during this discussion, bet he does manages to throw some shade on the Chicago White Sox. As must be the case, though, we do eventually manage to get to the main topic: death and dying. Death is always an uneasy topic, but it is nonetheless an inescapable reality for humanity, and a reminder of our fallen state. As Christians, however, we also have the confidence that comes through that one perfect death. This paradox is what allows Rev. Bortulin and Wade discuss the joy and privilege of a pastor to be present at the deathbeds of the faithful. Wade reads a section from Johann Gerhard’s Sacred Meditations, in which Gerhard reminds us that Christ in his death turns death from curse into gift.

A huge thanks once again to Rev. Bortulin for joining us. If you’d like more information on the church he is currently serving, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mukwonago, WI, you can find it at www.stjohnslutheran-muk.org.

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