A Statement from the Parents of Ben Larson

Some of you have been following the news of a senior Wartburg seminarian, Ben Larson, who is presumed dead in Haiti.  He, his wife, and his cousin, all seminarians together, traveled to Haiti on a J-term service trip.  His wife and cousin survived and are in the process of traveling home.  There is more on this story here and here.

Ben’s parents, both pastors themselves (in fact, his mother served as the first female bishop of the ELCA in the LaCrosse Area synod) are now located in Duluth.  Ben lived for a time in Rochester during his mother’s tenure as Synod Minister in our SE MN Synod. 

The family could have used this space to talk about their own grief; they instead speak of the Haitian people.  I find the final paragraph of this statement so incredibly moving and thought-provoking.  -pastorhh

Jan. 14, 2010

6:30 p.m.

A personal statement from Pastors Judd and April Larson

As an infant Benjamin Judd Ulring Splichal Larson was wrapped in the arms of God in the waters of baptism, and from those waters, his life was an outpouring of love and joy, laughter and play, in response to God first loving Ben.

Ben’s love of God, walking in accompaniment, passionately loving others, listening and learning from those who are poor across the globe, drove his serving.

We give thanks to God for the incredible joy of knowing Ben.  His laughter, playfulness, passionate heart for those who are hurting was manifest in his daily life.  He delighted in the privilege of serving and knowing God, laying out his life in joy.  

We are blessed by still being able to hear Ben‘s music.  His father Judd says, “If you want to know Ben, go to his music.“  In his tender music remains some of the treasure that is Ben:  what he believes, what he cares about, his deepest soul.

Most of the people who died in this deadly earthquake in Haiti are the poorest of the poor in this hemisphere.  Ben went to Haiti to teach theology and scripture in the new Lutheran Church of Haiti; but more deeply to learn from these people loved by God.  In his young death his life joins the bodies of the poor.  In the Haitian rubble Ben’s life joins these dear beloved people of God:  all those parents crying for their children; young widows calling out for their husbands; new orphans searching for their parents. 

God have mercy on us.