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Mack Williams: Some memories of Pastor Floyd W. Bost

Mack Williams

Runners of antiquity sometimes brought bad military tidings; but the Facebook tiding I saw late September 5th was in the nature of: “The strife is o’er, the battle done; the victory of life is won!” Old high school — Saint Paul’s Lutheran — Facebook friend Tim Deal announced: “Karen’s (his wife) dad Pastor Floyd Bost left for his heavenly home a little while ago.” I felt sort of like having failed to wish a friend a safe Amtrak journey.
Today’s column includes some new recollections of Pastor Bost, mixed with a few recollections of him from prior columns. That’s like life: “Ongoing, with memories.”
Recently at church, I was surprised by a new tenor appearing next to me in the choir’s tenor section (one thing tenors are more wary of than they are of sopranos: other tenors). But being our new minister, he’s nicer than a soprano! When he left the pulpit to join the choir in anthem, I thought of Pastor Bost!
During one early 1970s Christmas Eve service at Saint Paul’s, I sang “O Holy Night,” only having discovered at Appalachian that I could sing (either didn’t have prior occasion to, or wasn’t very bright).
Battling a throat tickle with “Old Mr. Boston’s Rock and Rye,” I realized I couldn’t bring that bottle to church (I was bright enough to know that), so I poured some into an empty prescription cough syrup bottle. Pastor Bost exited the pulpit and sat beside me in the choir loft to join the choir in singing their anthem. He coughed a little, and I thought of handing him my “cough syrup” to help him, and see his reaction (perhaps that last should be reversed). But being a fairly decent person, I chickened out (one of life’s missed opportunities).
I always liked the way Pastor Bost’s voice got deeper when emphasizing “Our sins” at the end of a prayer asking God’s forgiveness.
Fascinated with fossils, I carried some back then in my pocket (another “clothed fossil” now “returns” my glance from the mirror when I give my hair a “swipe and a prayer” prior to heading out the door).
Showing Pastor Bost my fossil trilobite (a sort of “triune,” extinct animal), I mentioned its almost “antediluvian” age! He reminded me about Holy Relics and Indulgences (big Lutheran “no-nos”), but grinned, with eyes twinkling, so he wasn’t attacking paleontology, just picking with me.
Acolyting with Pastor Bost, I traversed “The secret passage of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church,” that concealed passage behind the altar, but no lethal “Indiana Jones” traps there, just a means of going from left to right (or Scripturally: from being “at the left hand” to being “at the right hand”).
When I was home one weekend from Appalachian, a “council of counsel” was convened by Pastor Bost, also including the late Paul Ritchie and the late Pastor James Cress, all charged with the daunting task of helping me achieve “focus” in my college career, my aimlessness burdening my sweet mother, Lorraine Williams. Long before “It takes a village,” it took some of that “village’s” key members!
In one recent Saint Paul’s homecoming sermon, Pastor Bost spoke of his first request for an assistant pastor, realizing, as he put it, “The sins of the Saint Paul’s congregation were more than one man could handle” (said very dryly).
Pastor Bost introduced Luther Leaguers to a culinary “delicacy,” the “banana boat!” (instead of Baked Alaska, imagine a baked banana split!).
A very special memory: at my Confirmation, Pastor Bost placed his hand upon my head, saying, “Through thy growth in grace, through thy patience in suffering.”
When a vaccine proves successful, people say “It took!” Pastor Bost passed away at 90, so his own Confirmation happened around 1942. When that Confirming minister placed his hand upon the head of Floyd W. Bost, saying: “Through thy growth in grace; through thy patience in suffering,” “it took.” It definitely “took!”

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