Today was David’s memorial service. It involved members of the Dallas Symphony, the Symphony Chorus, the Highland Park UMC choir, several soloists, and a variety of conductors. There were, by my count, some nine instrumental pieces and eight choral works, plus three solos—and I may have missed a piece or two. Of course, a number of people spoke, too.
David planned the service himself, which made it all the more special. (Though when I reach Heaven myself I’ll have a few words with him over that arrangement of Holy, Holy, Holy. “Seriously. Could you not have warned us? You know how tricky Gary Fry pieces are, and sight-reading through tears is NOT easy…”)
As I listened to the orchestra play Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings—surely the most passionately mournful piece ever written—I was struck again by the way music expresses our emotions in a way that words cannot. I think the Holy Spirit must live in music; Romans 8:26 says, “But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain.” Deep feelings that words cannot explain describe today’s service beautifully.
Listening to and making music together—music that testified to the awesomeness of God, the assurance of His love, and the comfort of His eternal presence—was a comforting and healing experience. I’m sure David knew it would be so when he chose the songs. The spoken words were also a comfort. I had to restrain myself from waving my soggy tissue and shouting “Amen!” at a crucial part of the message thanks to Dr. John McCoy and his passionate confidence in Christ’s resurrection and what that means for believers. (It didn’t seem quite the place and time for that kind of outburst, but I was waving and “amen-ing” on the inside.)
And so, we move forward. I’d like to end with the Affirmation of Faith from today’s service, taken from the Heidelberg Catechism:
My only comfort in life and death is that I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ;
Who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; yes, that all things must be subservient to my salvation.
And, therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready henceforth, to live unto Him.