Recently, Jim Limburg ’61 M.Div., a dear colleague and professor emeritus of Old Testament at Luther Seminary, passed away.
Those in our community who knew Professor Limburg have been mourning this loss. Rolf Jacobson ’91 M.Div., Luther Seminary professor of Old Testament, was Jim’s godson. Rolf wrote recently of Jim’s influence: “Jim was a magnificent teacher, gifted writer and preacher, a faithful follower of Jesus, and a formidable scholar.”
I had the privilege of getting to know Jim, not initially as a teacher and scholar of the Bible, but as a trombone player. When Jim was teaching at Augustana he was a longstanding member of the faculty brass quintet. I was invited to play second trumpet. It was a life-changing experience to play in churches and at various events with Jim telling stories, sharing the repertoire of songs he employed to teach Hebrew, and opening scripture in ways I’d never heard before. I thought if a trombone player knows this much about the Bible, I had better step up my knowledge, too! The road trips to these rural outposts of ministry revealed the love of God in the relationships he cultivated, the scripture he opened, and the music he played so beautifully.
At Professor Limburg’s funeral the other day, it struck me how fitting it was to honor the memory of this faithful faculty member during Advent. Often, we think of Advent as the anticipation of birth—of Jesus’ coming into the world as a small baby—but more deeply than that, it’s an invitation to watch and wait during all the transitions of our lives.
A diagnosis. A job offer. A wedding. A reconciliation. A birth. A death.
We watch and wait because, through it all, we anticipate the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who will dry every tear and right every wrong. This doesn’t mean we don’t experience pain or sorrow in the meantime; rather we trust that even in the midst of all we experience, God is with us, God’s promises are sure, and God will have the last word: a word of new creation, new life, and hope.
However this message finds you—whether in joy or in grief—may you be comforted in this time of watching and waiting. You are not alone, for Christ is on the way to renew this weary world.
Robin J. Steinke, President