We said our last good-byes as a congregation to Mr. Warren Moses this morning, at a memorial service before the regularly scheduled Sunday worship service.
Nothing elaborate. Just several of the members of the congregation standing up to tell a personal story or two about how Warren had touched our lives, had left an indelible imprint on our memories and hearts. To call attention to which particular threads of the fabric of our beings were woven together with his so closely that his passing demonstrated that this is really one fabric after all.
We didn’t all necessarily know that he and his neighbor traded okra every summer; or that he would send a hand-drawn map to the church to another member if he stayed away more than a couple of Sundays; or that he shared that particular long-standing joke with his “apprentice” in the craft of ringing the bells that announce worship every Sunday morning.
But we all knew the larger truth of what each of those stories told us each in their particular way: that Warren was warm, kind, generous of time and help and care and spirit, lively and witty, humane and human, “a true Christian.”
He had the gift of being able to make a person feel special, in ways small and great.
We loved him.
It is hard to imagine, or experience, our little world without him. Loss hurts.
But we would not want to be without this loss – which is really the measure of what we gained from being part of this world together for a time, from living the common life that creates the stories we tell on a morning like this, the life of years of ordinary days – if any days are really that ordinary.
Our pastor used a prayer that may be familiar to others – not to me, before now – as “the horizon prayer” –
We give him back to you, dear God, who gave him to us. Yet as you did not lose him in giving, so we have not lost him by his return. What you gave you do not take away, O Lover of souls; for what is yours is ours also if we are yours. And life is eternal and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing but the limit of our sight. Lift us up, strong God, that we may see further; cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly; and draw us closer to yourself that we may know ourselves to be nearer to our loved ones who are with you.
We sang “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” – Warren’s favorite hymn.
We got a late start on the regular worship service. No one seemed to mind.
Edited 02.26.19 to add photo of Warren Moses