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  • Beth Lantinga

Soli Deo Gloria

I recently reviewed the pack of photos I had taken during the June interview and remember that it was difficult to find a moment when Visky was still. He never posed or seemed affected but conveyed his meaning not just with words. His fluid facial expressions and constantly changing gestures gave a special vitality to his words. Even though the photos reminded me of Visky’s dramatic quality, that’s not what I remember most. Every story seemed to reveal his abiding awareness that his identity was hidden with God.

Visky reminded us of the importance of harmony. “I don’t know how long this will take, but I need to remain in harmony with my heart, and in a symbolic way, in harmony with the Lord. We need to be in harmony with each other and with God. We have much to talk about God – not in quantity, but in quality.”

Then he asked his wife Julia to pray. She appeared to have been slowed a bit by time, yet her prayer revealed her deep, personal faith that once attracted Ferenc.

'O Lord Jesus Christ, we praise you and we lift your name on high, O Lord. It is such a good thing that we can be close to you and can feel that you are really close to us. It is so good for us, and we need it greatly. We praise you for this, and in this moment, we want to feel your closeness, and we beg you to bless us. Amen.'

Then Rev. Visky began. “I hope that while you are present here, together we will all hear what is worthwhile to pass along. The fact that your research is greatly related to the Psalms is a new approach and important because such a perspective has not yet appeared in our circles. We will keep our conversation in this stream, always related to the Psalms.”

Psalm 73

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge.

First, I would like to talk about the events that led me into the world of the psalms. When I was a little kid, I had a small corner in my parents’ room, and on the opposite wall, right above my father’s head there was a bright picture with a quotation from Psalm 73. It said, “But as for me, it is good to be near God.” I was about six or seven years old at the time and never imagined that I would have good use of those words later in my life. But God knew what I didn’t when I was a child. This closeness is a reality for us existentially. We can say that the whole of our life is suffused with the presence of God. It was this closeness that preserved us through the hard times and never let sink into sorrow.

Psalm 115

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

Another event before the prison years was our engagement to marry. Fifty six years ago we were looking for biblical sanction for our marriage, for belonging together, and for our joint tasks. We remembered the words from Psalm 115. It was good to be in harmony in this and to know that our work would take place under this banner, Soli Deo Gloria.

Psalm 90

Teach us to number our days aright

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Just one more. Here is a story about my grandchild who is a pastor, by the way. At his wedding the message came from Psalm 90. I think that these words should have a new meaning every time we hear them. I won’t tell you the whole sermon here, just a part of it. The very first words say, Teach us. It means that I am in need of teaching because there is much that I don’t know, things that I don’t understand. I don’t know how to be a husband, how to be a wife, how to be a pastor, how to preach, how to be a grandfather. There were some church leaders present at that wedding. I added, I really don’t know how one can be a curator, a professor, a bishop, but it’s high time to study these things.

Though Rev. Visky was instructing the wedding party, he was also reminding the church leaders present that they didn’t know how to be bishops and professors, especially the ones who had forced him to retire early because of pressure from the communist state. Ferenc Visky lived his life as a teacher and leader, but he never forgot his identity as a listener and learner.


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