For the last 10 years, Anne MacArthur and I have come to know Pastor Busch very well. Anne worked with him 2-3 days a week, and he and I talked on the phone or at our house almost as often. We occasionally watched one of Jon’s soccer games on his TV. My wife Barbara and I are fortunate that we have had two Ministers who were also good friends. Busch was the 2nd.
When Pastor Petrea said I should say something on behalf of the congregation, I was looking forward to the opportunity to regale you with some anecdotes and Busch-isms. And we would chuckle together. But I didn’t want to talk that long, nor was I sure I could.
So I came up with four terms that, to me, describe Pastor Busch perfectly, and a closing quote:
TEACHER You didn’t take a Bible Study with Pastor Busch – you took a Bible Class from Pastor Busch. His knowledge of the Bible, its people, cultures and times was tremendous. We tried to talk – instead, we listened and we learned. To me, this was his ministerial strength.
WIELDER OF THE 2×4 – You will soon see why I chose this term. Pastor Busch was good at counseling, especially with a focus on the spiritual. He could hear about your situation, think for a while about the obstacle to your decision-making problem and give you his assessment. It was a frequent, recurring admonition to me when I was struggling with issues here at St. Michael. I was thinking. I was planning. I was worrying. I was fretting. I was trying to coordinate. I couldn’t hear myself or anyone else, let alone the Holy Spirit. Know what he said, in his cool, calming Brooklyn voice: “Shut up and listen!”
READER – Pastor was a very good reader of people. When Barbara and I told him he was welcome whenever he wanted to stop by, he knew we meant it. And he stopped by whenever he wished to visit or to chat or to not be home by himself. And he often explained to me the people background behind the issues I was confronting here at St. Michael.
WYSIWYG – An old computer term that means: “What you see is what you get.” If you ever talked with Bob Busch outside of the worship service, then I don’t need to go any further. Jaime, I don’t know if he was always like that, but he was the entire time I knew him – and I appreciated that blatant honesty.
I won’t close with the words he said at the stop light while we waited for the arrow to turn green during his third heart attack. This is a family place. Instead I’ll close with his favorite Bible verse, which was: “and this, too, shall pass,”
His verse by the way, is nowhere in the Bible. The closest is 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
The sudden hole in our lives seems like much more than a “light and momentary trouble. And one day, maybe, this too shall pass.
We’ll miss you, my friend.