This is the pastor’s study at Trinity Lutheran Church in Norborne, Missouri. It’s mostly empty now--I wish I had taken a "before" picture--but for the past 32 years it has been occupied by the Reverend Kim Scharff, whose funeral is this weekend.
It’s strange to see it bereft of books, for Kim was an avid reader. Of course he read theology in all its disciplines, but his reading interests were varied and wide: history, classic literature, politics, current events, and music all decorated his shelves. Kim was a brilliant man. He read and absorbed all these books, pondered what he read, and was able to speak intelligently about what he’d read, both in agreement and in disagreement.
I was blessed to spend a year in that study, learning from him as a vicar. We spent long hours in there, praying, reading, writing, discussing a variety of topics, and sometimes sitting quietly, enjoying heavenly compositions.
It stands empty for now. Life goes on. With Kim’s death, Trinity will, for the first time since 1988, seek to Call a new pastor to serve them, serve with them, and be served by them. A new pastor will walk into this study, put his books on shelves, and sit at the desk. He will write sermons, pray for the flock in his care, and prepare to teach young and old about the wonderful works of God. It won’t be the same...and yet it will, for Christ will use this man to preach His Word and to deliver His Gifts to the people He places into this new pastor’s care, just as He did with Pastor Scharff.
I will miss Pastor Scharff, my friend, mentor, bishop, and spiritual father and brother. Trinity Lutheran Church in Norborne will miss Pastor Scharff, their undershepherd, the man who baptized, confirmed, married, and buried a generation of their congregation. But life goes on. God is good. Kim is at rest with his beloved Mary, awaiting the Resurrection of all flesh at the Last Day. And we will be reunited with him—first, as we gather “with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven” at the Communion rail, and then forever.
It’s a good study in a good church with wonderful people. And God is good, too. Knowing both these things, I know the study won’t be empty long.