Rend the Heavens!
Saturday, January 15th at noon - Christmas Decoration Take-Down
Daniel “Dan” D. Fessenden age 70 of Maplewood, MN went to heaven on December 18, 2021, with family by his side. Dan was born on April 15, 1951, in Janesville, Wisconsin.
Dan is survived by his loving wife Karen and his children from a previous marriage: Thomas Fessenden (fiancee Cami), Kimberly (Ace) Getahun, Tracy (Paul) Gullerud. Ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Brother: John (Coral) Fessenden, sisters: Clare (John) Brynildson, Christine (Rich) Glass, many nieces, nephews, other extended family, and friends. Dan was preceded in death by his parents Austin and Gertrude Fessenden, Sisters: Mary Fessenden, Virginia James, and Elizabeth Fessenden.
Dan attended Kindergarten at Wilson School, grades 1 – 8 at St Patrick’s Catholic School. Dan moved to Minneapolis at 14 years old where he attended 9th grade at Phillips Jr High School, 10th grade at Central High School 11-12 grade at Alexander Ramsey High School. Dan worked at Westinghouse during his Senior year of school and another 3 years. He went to Colorado with his brother-in-law for 1 month to work on Oil Wells but there were no jobs so they headed back to Minnesota. In 1972 he worked for Prospect Foundry for 6 months. Then in the summer of 1972, Dan started work at Horner Waldorf (AKA: Waldorf, Champion, Rock Tenn now WestRock) 1 year in stripping, 8 days in Maintenance Service, 26 years as a Millwright (apprentice school 2 years) then 12 years as Preventive Maintenance Inspector. He retired after 39 years on December 1, 2011 from Rock Tenn.
Dan was a very strong man and he fought hard through the past 11 years. Dan was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma in May of 2010. After being in remission he went through a Stem Cell Transplant (BMT) using his own stem cells at the U of M. After two years the cancer returned. In May of 2013 he went through another Stem Cell Transplant at the U of M getting his sister Chris’ stem cells. He had been cancer free. Through the years he did have other health issues that came up. On November 10th, 2021 he went in for back fusion surgery to help relieve the pain and be able to walk and stand better. Following his surgery many health issues continued to compile and ultimately lead to his passing.
Dan loved participating in any activity he could do outside. He enjoyed hunting or just being in the woods, golfing, fishing, horseshoes, and running. Dan completed 2 marathons, ½ marathons plus many other races. He was very athletic and competitive. Dan always made people laugh but also liked having fun by scaring people on occasion.
Dan had three great loves in his life. The love of the Lord, the love of his life, Karen, and the love for his children and grandchildren. Dan and Karen were married on June 26, 1993, at St. John Ev. Lutheran Church in St. Paul, MN. Married for 28 1/2 years, Dan and Karen were best friends with a very deep love for each other. Dan often told Karen that she was the lucky one to have found him and Karen couldn't agree more.
Daniel D. Fessenden was a very strong, loving, caring, wonderful husband, father, grandpa, brother, uncle, and friend. Dan was the family rock. He was the guy everyone went to with problems; he either would fix the problem or make you feel better with his supportive nature and vast knowledge of scripture. Dan was a devoted Catholic until he joined St John Ev Lutheran Church (WELS) on February 11, 1996. Dan had a very strong faith which he shared with family, friends, and anyone he met. Dan had an amazing life and will be missed by all who knew him.
The celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, January 8, 2022, at St. John Ev. Lutheran Church. Visitation 10:00am – 11:00am prior to the service. The service will be at 11:00am.
Private interment at Elmhurst Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to:
St. John Ev. Lutheran Church
765 Margaret St.
St. Paul, MN 55106
U of M Foundation
200 Oak St. SE Suite 500
Mpls., MN 55455
Checks made to U of M Foundation, please note the following information in the memo of your check: "Nancy’s BMT Patient Support" or "Fund #11760 in memory of Daniel D. Fessenden."
In January, we typically devote a couple Sundays to celebrating Epiphany. According to Merriam Webster, Epiphany means “a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way”. As believers, God has granted us such a moment and many subsequent moments where our insight on eternal things becomes all too real. We have sensed the insurmountable burden of our sins and yet know with confidence, the relief and freedom which Jesus brings. This is truly good news; and it needs to be shared. He redeemed us by his blood. We are now free for an eternity of celebrating God’s love and kindness to us and to the world.
But then there is the problem of HOW to share? Who really wants to hear this message? What is the baggage through which we must wade in order to share the good news of Jesus? SHaring our faith is meant to be a joy but Satan offers us many hurdles and obstacles for sharing. He wants the world to remain trapped in blindness and the darkness of sin.
One former atheist shared his feelings about the Christian faith in this way: he believed that if he became a believer, his life of fun would turn to a life of drudgery and boredom. He truly did not see [and could not see] that the gift of faith would turn his life upside down for the good. Yet he grudgingly told his non-believing friends that on this particular day he was going to be baptized into the Christian faith. When his body submitted to the waters of Baptism and his heart was touched by the Spirit of the Living God, he found an unbelievable newness and freshness and brilliant hope for his life. He could not believe the astounding difference.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
iNstead of drudgery he found amazing peace. Instead of burdensome laws and rules he found that God’s system of living gave him freedom from guilt and the ability to conquer the strange, drowning desires of his flesh. He even found himself willing to say “no” to a profoundly beautiful young woman whom he had adored for months and years. She found out that he was a Christian; she noticed that he was different and asked him why. He shared with her his newfound faith in Jesus CHrist.
At that point she offered herself to him fully. He told her that he did not desire her in that way anymore because of his faith in Jesus. The Blood of Jesus not only forgave his sin but offered him a newfound way to live. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). His desire was for the new life that Christ had won for him.
But the World does not yet know of God’s love and forgiveness in Christ Jesus. The world has been left without an epiphany - many do not yet know of this tremendous gift. That is why this series is placed here, just after our celebration of Jesus embarking on His earth-bound trek to save humanity. The manger helps us to see the Christ child, born for us. The shepherds relay the message from the angels - “A Savior has been born for you: He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2).
Embark with me on a journey to share the faith that we have. You might be astounded at how you already do share your faith AND how you can grow in sharing your faith in Jesus. You have, you possess the most amazing, life-giving gift of all time: Jesus and faith in Jesus. Let us grow in that faith and share it with everyone we meet.
Please pray for this series and for each member of our two churches so that, collectively, we all grow in sharing the faith that we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus!
Blessings to you all.
Come Let us Adore Him!
St. John Lutheran Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Friday, December 24th, 4:00 pm
Pastor Al will be sharing the Good News of our dear Savior's birth!
Please join us again on Sunday, December 26th, 8:30 am,
as we continue to celebrate our Savior's birth.
We will also welcome Pastor Joel Gawricsh and family
as guest pianist and musicians.
MY SOUL GLORIFIES THE LORD
Christmas invokes many thoughts and images; I find that my childhood memories of Christmas are quite powerful and generate much nostalgia. Christmas, for me, is about Christmas services filled with singing children grades K - 8, jam packed worship with extra chairs and the smell of Old Spice. Christmas sweaters adorn the faithful. The children squirm in anticipation of the gifts under the tree. The congregation erupts in the great Christmas hymn, “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” The crisp December night brings darkness and lights together in celebration.
Christmas is such a “magical” time; it brings hope of the greatest joys which heaven brings. Heaven comes down and wraps God’s promises in the swaddling clothes around baby Jesus. We feast and open gifts. We embrace old friends and overlook past grievances because Peace has come down to earth and wrapped its arms around our hearts.
We have the gift giving as displayed by the Magi:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
. . . When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (Matthew 2:1-2, 10-12)
What gifts do we anticipate this Christmas? The wise men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each had its place and its purpose. They had intelligent insight: the child that is born in Bethlehem - He’s the King (Matthew 2:2). Gold is for king’s coffers. Jesus is THE King. And gold gave Mary and Joseph the means to flee to Egypt and escape Herod’s bloody grip.
The frankincense was the perfume of priests - Jesus is our High priest and He makes all our prayers acceptable and fragrant to God. The gift shows God’s concern for our words, our tears, our requests and guilty regrets laid up in confession. God loves to hear them all.
Myrrh was used for burial. The Baby Jesus came to live and die, which means that whatever caused such a brutal death, was also buried with Him. Myrrh reminds us that the perfect Son of God had to die, wrapped in our sinful ways. The burden of our evil brought Him to the grave.
Each of these gifts helps us understand our God’s providence and His perfect, unending love. All of time and eternity rests on Jesus’ coming to earth. He did! He made the journey. He lived well and lived obedient to all God’s law.
May we enjoy each Christmas moment. Let us ring out a celebration filled with lights, and singing and children’s choirs, and evergreen trees that tower over the spirit of giving. God has given us the best of Himself in the baby Jesus - born for you and for me. Heaven’s gift has come down; Let us adore Heaven’s gift. May our hearts be filled to overflowing, knowing that Heaven still cares.
The gift is now 200 decades old. But the gift does not diminish with time. It grows brighter as the world becomes dark. Jesus is the Light of the world; the Light no darkness can overcome!
What is your earliest recollection of hearing? When did you, as a human being, first start hearing things?
What is hearing? According to an article in the National Institute of Health, (NIH. How do we hear) hearing is “a series of complex steps that change sound waves in the air into electrical signals.” Then this article went on to outline the six major steps for how this all happens; they even supplied a great video to help make sense of this complicated process.
Here is where my brain chimes in, “I thought hearing was a rather mundane function; hmm, guess not. It’s pretty amazing - rather complicated!” This brings us back to that great passage on the human frame that says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and “knit together” (Psalm 139:13-16) by God Himself.
New International Version
13 For you [God] created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
When did you first begin to hear? Once your mother and father conceived you, somewhere around the six week marker, your body’s cells, in the area dedicated to your head, begin to arrange themselves in a pattern that will eventually be the brain, face, ears and eyes. At nine weeks small indentations are made by God on your neck. They will eventually migrate up to the side of your head but right now these “dents” are on your neck and will eventually form into your ears. God is incredibly creative in how He does all of this.
At that six week marker, there is development of the intricate arrangement of tubes that make up the inner ear.
When a baby is 16 weeks old in the womb, the ears are at a point where the baby can start detecting a few sounds such as the beating of the mother’s heart, her breathing and even her intestinal gurgles. At 24 weeks, the child’s ears are fully developed. Research has made us aware that babies will turn their heads because of certain voices and sounds.
Why does this all matter? Two reasons: one, God is amazing and He displays His wisdom and engineering of the human body: what we know as biology. The second reason is personal to the Christmas story. Mary, the virgin pledged to be married to Joseph, is now pregnant with Jesus in her womb. She visits her cousin Elizabeth after travelling from Nazareth. When Mary sounds her arrival at Elizabeth’s abode, the baby (John the Baptist) in Elizabeth’s womb hears and leaps for joy.
In those days [when Elizabeth was six months pregnant or 26 weeks along] Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. (Luke 1:39-44)
This is one of those instances where God clearly relates to us what we humans have discovered through science in the last 100 years or so - the intricate nature of hearing and the age at which hearing forms. God wrote science into this chapter of His Book, the Bible. Luke records these facts which are scientifically verified. God and science are in agreement but our world likes to think that belief in God negates a belief in science. Nothing could be further from the truth! Luke’s account in Luke one matches the science of hearing.
What did Elizabeth hear and what did the baby John acknowledge? What they reveal is astounding: the Savior Jesus is inches away. Jesus is very near.
THis does several things for us as modern Americans. It validates the concept and truth of life in vitro. Both babies would be called “fetuses” in our culture. OK. But they are viable lives that God clearly has brought into existence. Life is God’s to give and life must not be taken lightly or destroyed if the shelf life doesn’t match our views, our compliance standards or our comfort level. Life begins at conception and God’s people MUST NOT grow shy of proclaiming this truth. Jesus did not become viable as the Savior once He was born. He did not become the Savior once He crossed the 21 week mark. Baby Jesus was just days or weeks old yet Elizabeth says these words about the baby:
she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. (Luke 1:42-44)
The fruit of Mary’s womb is the Savior of the world despite His youthfulness. The baby in Elizabeth’s womb could acknowledge the presence of Jesus his Savior. Such is the wisdom of God. May we also acknowledge the Savior in Mary’s womb who grew to be birthed for us, to be cradled on straw, to be sentenced under the weight of humanity’s sin so that we could all go free. One day old or 33 years old, this child IS the Savior of the World. He is my Savior and will always be. Praise the Lord.