Withered grass, fallen flowers

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:24,25). St. Peter found Isaiah’s words appropriate to his century, incorporating them into the first chapter of his first letter. Twenty centuries later, they still ring true.

Here is my annual list of people whose work and lives have made our culture richer and more interesting, people who passed from the earth in 2016. I wonder how many were Christians? I would love to have met them all. Any important names you’d like to add?

Joe Alaskey—You don’t think you know him, but you do. He was the cartoon voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, and more.

Alan Rickman—Harry Potter fans mourn that Prof. Severus Snape no longer walks the halls of Hogwarts.

Gene Wilder—Will you remember him as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, the Waco Kid, or Willy Wonka?

Glenn Frey—This Eagle flies no more. Thanks for some great music.

Dan Hicks—He and his band, His Hot Licks, brought sassy western swing back to life.

Harper Lee—Her To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the 20th century’s best-selling novels.

Paul Kantner—He and his mates in Jefferson Airplane created the soundtrack for late-60s rebellion and San Francisco idealism.

George Martin—He was the Beatles’ brilliant producer who helped invent some of their most creative and unique sounds.

Merle Haggard—He was a country music giant, but just an “Okie From Muskogee.”

David Bowie—Ziggy Stardust will wear his exotic outfits no more.

Prince—Purple rain is still falling on his fans.

Jan Crouch—She and her husband, Paul, founded TBN, largest of the religious broadcasting networks.

Muhammad Ali—His immense talent and charisma boosted his passions: boxing, Nation of Islam, anti-Vietnam War activism.

Ralph Stanley—His haunting, keening Appalachian tenor will forever wail, “O death, won’t you spare me over ’til another year?”

Scotty Moore—He was best known for his innovative guitar picking and chording in Elvis’ band.

Youree Harris—There will be no more fake Jamaican late-night TV commercials for Miss Cleo and her psychic hotline.

Kenny Baker—He squeezed his 3’8” body into R2-D2’s canister to operate it on set.

Buckwheat Zydeco—He personally led the Cajun music revival with his glittering accordion and twangy French Creole singing.

Robert Vaughn—He was the king of 1960s cool as Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Florence Henderson—She was the mom of the Brady Bunch.

Leonard Cohen—His song “Hallelujah” made him pretty famous as an old guy, but he was good decades before that.

Zsa Zsa Gabor—She was a mahvelous talent for being famous, Dahling.

Carrie Fisher—“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope.”

Fidel Castro—I include him on this list only to wish a much better future for the Cuban people.

Gordie Howe—He was nicknamed Mr. Hockey; a Detroit Red Wings legend.

Antonin Scalia—He was an outspoken conservative voice on the Supreme Court; his position is still unfilled.

Nancy Reagan—She was “Ronnie’s” #1 fan.

Arnold Palmer—He was a great golfer and promoter of the game; classic gentleman.

Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.


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