Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Go, Silent Friend

At long last, my friend with cancer, who I have blogged about over the last year, has breathed her last. However, through Christ she and not death will have the last word. My fiercely determined friend, with whom there has been intense and personal sharing, more than our fair share of laughs, and more than a couple glasses of wine. Who lived life writ large- big smile, big laugh, big heart. With piercing eyes that could sparkle with great Irish wit, or slay you with the glacial glare if you have hurt her clan. Never afraid to be real and honest and loving- NOW. She has been a friend, a confidant, a client, a supporter, and the person that would tell you that you just did, or were about to do, a really stupid thing. If she had your back, there was little to fear.
In this week I, like many of my peers will be meeting on Friday ( Reformation Day) with my candidacy panel. I hope and pray that I will be recommended for endorsement to continue my studies and discernment. On Sunday, our younger daughter, our spare teen and six other youth will participate in their affirmation of baptism. Juxtaposed between these two days will be the service for my friend. In many ways a microcosm of ministry and life in the community of faith. And it has become time to honor the promise she asked me to make, that week she learned she had cancer. When she swore she would beat it, but just in case, " will you sing at my service?" Our eyes both welled up as I assured her that day was farther off than it might seem.

Gracious God, we give you thanks for the life and witness of one who we so deeply loved and who so deeply loved us. We give you thanks for that ways in which you used her devotion, and her example of faith in good times and in struggle, that helped us to be faithful too. We give you thanks for the saving act of the life, death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, and the promise that nothing can separate us from your love. May this bring comfort in the times ahead as we mourn our loss, and may we also be sustained by the memories of the gift of time with which we were blessed. In the name of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A year and a half. The gift of time we shared as friends after that day, the day when I promised and acted as a friend, when it seemed so distant. Any thought I had that this had been forgotten was dispelled when today I learned that the service had been planned. From my friend's notes throughout her illness. Notes now scooped up lovingly and brought to the church, by her devoted hubby. And among the wishes and thoughts, that I would sing a solo, the words she wanted to leave with those who mourned. So after I have assisted with communing the gathered, the post-communion canticle will be this song, sung to the tune of "Londonderry Air," more popularly known as the tune of "Danny Boy."

"Go Silent Friend"
The Iona Community

Go, silent friend,
your life has found its ending:
To dust returns your weary mortal frame.
God, who before birth called you into being,
Now calls you hence, his ascent still the same.

Go, silent friend,
your life in Christ is buried;
For you He lived and died and rose again.
Close by His side your promised place is waiting
Where, fully known, you shall with God remain.

Go, silent friend,
forgive us if we grieved you;
Safe now in heaven, kindly say our name.
Your life has touched us, that is why we mourn you;
Our lives without you cannot be the same.

Go, silent friend,
we do not grudge your glory;
Sing, sing with joy deep praises to your Lord.
You, who believed that Christ would come back for you,
Now celebrate that Jesus keeps his word.

Til we meet again, my dear friend. You have won- Thanks be to God. +


Althea N. Agape said...

prayers are with you tomorrow.

Gannet Girl said...

I am so sorry for your loss and for the huge hole it will leave in your life.

Ivy said...

I too, am sorry for yet another loss of a good friend. God strengthen, comfort, and uphold you and her family. You are all in my prayers.