Thursday, March 14, 2013


The Rev. Canon Jack Lindquist
Canon for Biblical Studies

Quite a few members of the cathedral know that on December 27, 2012, I had rather extensive surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder and then went into recovery during January and February of this year. Granted, this is not a major disability but it completely shut down my active life and I am only now, in March, coming back from it with physical therapy twice a week.

My left arm was fixed in a brace and sling with straps around my neck and waist (pretty incapacitating if, like me, one is left-handed!) and I was to avoid crowds. Even typing or writing with my left hand was painful. I could not drive; I had to drop out of teaching in Religious Studies at the University of San Diego for this Spring semester; very sadly, I had to stop my ministries at the cathedral, the Saturday Noon Mass and the Sunday morning Bible class, which mean so much to me. And my dear wife, Dr. Pat, after maintaining her full psychotherapy practice as usual every day, had to come home at night and be my nurse! What an angel she has been.

But now as I look back at those two months I can see how the Holy Spirit was at work precisely through my disability and absence. It was almost as if She had to get me out of the way for a while so wonderful things could happen. That's why I now refer to my surgery and recovery as "a blessing in a sling!"

No, I could not teach my Sunday morning Bible class, but two outstanding lay Bible teachers, Gary Owen assisted by Gary Arps, took it over, did excellent studies on all the Sunday Scripture readings, had everyone sit in a circle and turned it into a fantastic weekly discussion group! Gary Owen has a superb library of Biblical commentaries and Gary Arps is a graduate of the three-year Education For Ministry program, a seminary-level education for laypeople offered at the cathedral. I am back in that class now but no longer teaching from a lectern to people sitting in rows. No, I am sitting in my place in the circle, adding my contributions to the discussion. Thank God for the "Two Garys!" It's such a lively class now. I hope you will join us some Sunday at 9:00 AM up in the fireside room!

Also, no, I could not preside at the Saturday Noon Eucharist for those ten weeks (though Gary Owen graciously picked me up and drove me to it a few times), but that little flock was blessed to have a wonderful shepherd in Father Bjorn Marcussen. He was always at the altar in his warm, welcoming Danish way, and his homilies related the Word right into our real daily lives. I was blessed by his ministry in my place while I had to be quiet and listen! Gary Owen was always there, too, as the Saturday sacristan, lector and acolyte. Canons Richard Lief and Allisyn Thomas also very graciously filled in for me toward the end. But Father Bjorn always came back after presiding at the Wednesday Noon Mass as well, full of the Spirit when I had a head full of meds and a pain drain down my arm. Thank you, Bjorn! We Swedes always need you Danes to warm us up! I will give thanks for you every Saturday when I'm back at that altar now. 

And, finally, no, I could not go and join in our wonderful cathedral family week after week, but how moving it was when this family came and joined in with me! I cannot thank you enough, all of you who inundated me with your prayers and best wishes, your cards and letters and e-mails and voice mails over those two months. Your love and support upheld me through some days and nights of real pain and weakness, and that was truly the greatest blessing of all.

Now may the Holy Spirit strengthen and unite our whole cathedral family, during the last half of Lent, as we follow Christ on the way to the Cross and then into His glorious victory over all the powers of sin, death and despair!

Peace and joy to you all,
Canon Jack Lindquist

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