Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blessed are the Feet that Bring Good News

Today I lost my pastor, mentor, and friend. Pastor Arvid Carlson answered the call today to "come home" to be with his Lord and Savior. I will miss him, but I do rejoice in the knowledge that he is with the Savior he loved and served all of his life.

I believe of all the titles that Arvid bore, the one that fits him best is "pastor." Yes, he was a great preacher, and I can truly say, "they don't make them like him anymore." Yes, he was a wonderful and accomplished teacher of the World of God. Yes, he could pray with the best of them. Yes, he was a good administrator and leader. But most of all he was a shepherd of the Lord's flock.

Whether you were "part" of the church he was serving, or just a member of the community-at-large, to come in contact with Pastor Arvid was to be shepherded. He cared for people, sensed their needs, and sought to bring the presence of the Lord into each person's situation. I dare say he raised pastoring to an art form.

Was Pastor Arvid a perfect saint? No, and he would be the first to tell you that. Was he a great saint? Yes, and I would be the first to tell you that!

I met Pastor in 1977 when my new bride and I answered the call to serve at the church where he was Senior Pastor. (He retired within the first two years, and I wonder if I drove him to it. ;o)) He allowed me, as a young wet-behind-the-ears youth pastor to try and to fail. I know I pushed his comfort zone at times, but he was always gracious in dealing with me. He taught me what good preaching sounded like. He taught how a good prayer meeting is conducted. He taught me to "not be the first by which the new is tried, or the last by which the old has died." He taught me that preaching the Word of God is the first and foremost and highest calling of the pastor. And he taught me that Swedish is most likely the language of heaven.

It has been an honor to sit behind his desk and serve in his position here at Felton Bible Church for the last almost nine years. It has been an honor, to in some way, serve as his pastor in these last days. Humbled and honored.

I promised him just a few days ago that I would do my best, by the Holy Spirit's power, to honor his memory and his shepherding by preaching the Word in season and out, and by shepherding the flock to the glory of God.

Pastor Arvid, thank you for faithfully executing the high and holy office of the undershepherd. Your legacy shall continue in the lives of those whom you served and shepherded.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7)
Pastor Arvid must have had some beautiful feet.


Anonymous said...

It’s hard for me to imagine pretty feet on any man since most members of the male species typically have kind of knobby feet. But then I suppose, if a pastor does a good enough job of preaching the un-compromised word of God, most certainly I would find myself not even seeing that individual pastor at all nor would I see just the law (because the law kills), but instead I would find myself gazing intently upon my salvation, the fulfillment of the law aka the person of Jesus Christ.

Then I can, in fact, imagine that a pastor with plain old (even knobby) clay feet could be described as having beautiful feet much as a plain or even oddly shaped clay pot could be beautiful if what was flowing out of it was as precious as the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you say pastor Arvid had beautiful feet, I imagine that is because he somehow drew you a clearer picture of your savior, and he seems to have had a very positive effect upon your ministry because you don’t compromise the word at all that I have seen, but by the same token, you don’t preach legalism either which is a very hard combination, it seems for many pastors to achieve. So to whatever degree Pastor Arvid influenced you in that regard, I’m sure he will hear Christ say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

I’m sorry you won’t be able to see him for a long time until you join him in heaven. It’s hard not to miss people and just be glad they went to be with the Lord.


Anonymous said...

Arvid's daughter, Linda:

Thank you for your kind words about my dad, Pastor Randy. You were so faithful to come and visit him as he took his final "journey" home these past few weeks. We were so fortunate to be able to talk to him and listen to him while he was pain free, and we look forward to celebrating his life in early August. We will let your congregation know the dates and times in case they would like to come and join us in that event. More than anything, our dad would not want the spotlight on him. He was a modest person whose mission was to be a sermon "seen" not "heard."

Anonymous said...

I am having a hard time seeing the keys (yes I LOOK!) for my tears...

A hardy "Amen" to your beautiful eulogy of Pastor Arvid. I THOUGHT I was ready to say goodbye for awhile...but my heart aches. He was a very special person who can't be easily "given up".
Just a year ago he brought the invocation at our 50th anniversary party ...bright...cheerful and pretty strong for his years....a special person indeed !

Today he walks on streets of gold and I'm SURE after seeing and worshipping at the feet of his Lord and "chatting" with all of those who have gone before and thousands of friends...whose funerals he conducted.....I'll BET he has cornered the Apostle Paul...whose teachings and writings he loved and taught from so much....and they are having a grand old time "shootin' the breeze".......breathing celestial air, and drinking from the river of life that flows from the throne of God.

He now knows as he is known and now he has the answers to all of those questions that we all have and are tucking away to ask when we get to heaven. When I think about what he is enjoying at this very moment....I feel HE is the "lucky" one here! We still have our unanswered questions, our human limitations by the score...our misunderstandings....our aches and pains....our uncertainties about tomorrow...the concerns for the volitile world scene. Arvid is at perfect peace... with perfect understanding... a perfect glorified body....rejoicing in the presence of his Lord and Savior. WOW!!!

What a difference is his death vs the death of Chancelor Denton!!

Thank you Arvid for your faithful ministry, shepherding and example.

Anonymous said...

Randy, et al.,

Cliches never have the weight they should. The departure of a friend and mentor is a sad time, no matter the circumstances. My heart and prayers go out to all of you.