Rest now, Luke. Rest in Peace.
A huge storm has pounded its way ashore here in the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, it is not freezing out there. Driving will be hazardous, but not suicidal. I will be out in the elements, keeping my car on the road, avoiding the largest puddles and most splashing trucks, being distracted by the storm outside the car - distracted from the unsettled weather inside my chest.
This morning we will bury Luke.
We loved him. I loved him.
He did not let us know much about his personal life. It had already cost him too much, and he didn't want to bother us with it. He protected us from it, I think. He did not want anyone to pay attention to it.
Luke played the organ at church. He was there for every Sunday and holy day of obligation. He was there for every special service. He worked around the parts that needed repair, using what would work instead of bothering others to fix anything - in the organ, in the parish ... he didn't insist. He worked. He loved us.
I am remembering conversations I had with him. We were friends.
I am remembering the times I was in the choir loft when he was. I am remembering his uncanny ability to move all over that loft in utter silence. He could pass out sheets of music and give directions to the singers and pay attention to the service at the altar at the other end of the church, even though the rood screen and statues hide it so fully from the view from up there. He responded to something in the room. He knew when to do what, and he never missed a step and he never made a sound. We heard only music.
This morning we will pray the prayers of absolution. We will breathe the incense and listen to the music played by his fellow organists and sing the hymns for him. We will sing to God for Luke, our brother. Our friend. Our cantor - the one Luke trained - he will sing the Ave.
And later, in the afternoon of wind and rain and storm and chaos all around, as the last of the leaves blow off the trees and stick to our legs and shoes in the graveyard, we will commit him to the ground and to God. Quiet in the storm. Rest in the blowing rain. It suits him.
At the end of his life he was in agony. A cancer had taken hold of his brain. I have been praying for him every day for months now, asking God to release Luke from his body. It was broken. It was making too much noise.
Today we let him go.
Be at peace, Luke. We love you. I will try to sing this morning. But it may not be quite possible. It will be possible to pray. Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord. Light perpetual shine upon him.