HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
September 11, 2006, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

A death(and life) with a profound impact

Pastor Paul Marggraf, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Delano

Dear members of the Delano community; do the following names mean anything to you – Robert Borkenstein, Ruth Handler, Arthur “Spud” Melnin, and Ed Headrick?

All of them passed away in the last five years or so, and even though you may not recognize their names, they have had a profound impact on the lives of millions of people, maybe even yours.

• Robert Borkenstein was the head of Indiana’s police laboratory. He invented a device that was portable and easy to use that gave reliable, on-site readings. It is standard issue among law enforcement agencies today. That invention is known as the “breathalyzer.”

• Ruth Handler was the person who invented the ‘Barbie Doll.’ Millions of little girls over the years have spent millions of hours playing with them.

• Arthur “Spud” Melnin is the man who invented the ‘Hoola Hoop.’ Over 100 million were sold in 1958, and you can still see performers swinging a Hoola Hoop on segments of the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

• Ed Headrick took an idea from students throwing around pie tins from the Frisbee Baking Company and came up with a plastic toy originally called the “Pluto Platter.”

In 1964, the rights were purchased by the Wham-O Company and the name was changed to ‘Frisbee.’ There probably isn’t a college student in the last 50 years who hasn’t at one time or another spent time flinging a Frisbee around campus.

Many people’s lives have been impacted by these four individuals, even though we may not have been aware of who they were or that they had passed away. But there is someone whose death has impacted the lives of more people and to a much greater degree than any of those four individuals combined.

The death of Jesus Christ has, as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 5:10, “reconciled us to God.” That means that by Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, your sins have been fully forgiven and you are at peace with God.

But even more important than the death of Jesus Christ is his resurrection.

His death has impacted the lives of all people by giving them the peace of forgiveness, but his life impacts all people by giving them hope. Ed Headrick, the inventor of the Frisbee, stated before his death that he would like his ashes to be molded into a memorial Frisbee, because, he said, “When we die, we don’t go to purgatory, we just land up on the roof and lay there.”

If that’s all the hope that we have in this life, we are indeed the most miserable of men. The resurrection of Jesus gives you a far greater hope. Jesus says, “Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19) Because of Jesus, you can look forward to rising one day, even as he arose.

Praise God for sending his Son to die for your sins, and for the peace that gives to sinners. But praise God even more for Jesus’ resurrection and for the wonderful hope it gives you.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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