You might think so if you’re of the same mind as the Lutheran pastor who said it was “inappropriate” to have a cigar band imprinted with the Luther Rose and Verbum Dei Manet in Aeternum Concordia A. D. 1580. Read this poem written by J. S. Bach about his pipe smoking, and you tell me whether smoking a cigar to ashes banded with a reminder about the eternal Word of God is or is not a fitting reminder of the Faith.
I take my pipe and stuff it
And smoke to pass the time away
My thoughts, as I sit there and puff it,
Dwell on a picture sad and grey:
It teaches me that very like
Am I myself unto my pipe.
Like me this pipe, so fragrant burning,
Is made of naught but earthen clay;
To earth I too shall be returning,
And cannot halt my slow decay.
My well used pipe, now cracked and broken,
Of mortal life is but a token.
No stain, the pipe’s hue yet doth darken;
It remains white. Thus do I know
That when to death’s call I must harken
My body, too, all pale will grow.
To black beneath the sod ’twill turn,
Likewise the pipe, if oft it burn.
Or when the pipe is fairly glowing,
Behold then instantaneously,
The smoke off into thin air going,
‘Til naught but ash is left to see.
Man’s fame likewise away will burn
And unto dust his body turn.
How oft it happens when one’s smoking,
The tamper’s missing from its shelf,
And one goes with one’s finger poking
Into the bowl and burns oneself.
If in the pipe such pain doth dwell
How hot must be the pains of Hell!
Thus o’er my pipe in contemplation
Of such things – I can constantly
Indulge in fruitful meditation,
And so, puffing contentedly,
On land, at sea, at home, abroad,
I smoke my pipe and worship God.
A Lutheran layman gave me this cigar he had specially made after it was scorned (?) pooh-poohed (?) pietistically (?) refused by another Lutheran pastor he rightly left unnamed. Perhaps the brother pastor was merely a non-smoker. But I accept coffee cups embossed with Lutheran things, and I don’t drink coffee.
Well that pastor’s loss was my gain. It was a wonderful cigar. I smoked it to the band, and the band didn’t burn. A miracle? A sign? It was the latter for me. It was a sign that I should buy better cigars.