Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mr. Nick

Mr. Nick shows me how to teach Preaching.
“Our dear friend and colleague, Nick Spehar, died July 7, of an apparent heart attack. Nick worked as custodian, groundskeeper and maintenance person at LSTC since November 1967. Nick ministered to students and co-workers with his sense of humor and hospitality. As we learn funeral arrangements we will share them here and on LSTC's web site. Thanks be to God for the life of Nick Spehar and the love that he shared with all of us at LSTC for nearly 45 years.” Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

I called him, “Mr. Nick.” Nick called me, “Preacher,” except when he wanted me to know something important, like how essential he thought I was to the seminary or how impressed he was with my daughter, and then it was “Craig.” We teased each other a lot. Nick accused me of causing trouble, not doing much (or even showing up for) work, and wearing overly expensive clothes. I teased Nick about being a secret millionaire who became rich playing pool competitively, never wanting to listen to me preach, and looking rather than being busy. We had a great time awhile back when I spent a few weeks introducing Nick to people as our “interim president.” Nick made me laugh. I will miss him.

Since I read the news of Nick’ s death last evening, one verse runs though my head: "So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart" (Psalm 90:12). In the end, life is short and uncertain. People we cherish are gone before we know it, perhaps before we are ready. A wise heart remembers this and lives accordingly--or at least tries to as best it can.

God, grant me such a wise heart as I count my days, and bless and keep Mr. Nick.  

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