Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. -Psalm 30
I know for many of us, questions about Jack’s final days linger in our hearts. The truth I’ve been wrestling with since I got the call two days after Easter, is that our questions will go unanswered. As hard as that is to accept, I’ve found a certain peace in turning my attention to what we DO know. I know Jack felt at home here in this sanctuary, using the musical gifts he’d been given every chance he got. His relationship with God was nourished in this very space. I would try to thank him for his music ministry, the time commitment of practicing those beautiful duets with Gloria, accompanying the choir, even leading music at Edgewood, and he would just shake his head and say, “No no, thank YOU! I want to play- I appreciate the opportunity.” That was Jack’s faith lived out loud, shared with the world no matter if he got recognition or not. That same quiet and constant faith is what guides us in the midst of unanswered questions.
I can’t help but think also of the significance of Jack’s death occurring during Holy Week. We may not know exactly when he died, but we do know he gifted us with his final songs on Maundy Thursday. And his experience of Easter was being closer to the risen Lord than ever before.
My heart is drawn to the final words I got to speak as Jack’s pastor. We leave the Christ candle lit during our tenebrae service, a reminder that even in the darkest shadows, Christ’s light is not diminished. Here are the words guiding me through Jack’s loss, and I invite you to let them guide you too.
“The story of Christ on the cross reveals that it takes a human with Holy Spirit, a human like Christ, to believe that nothing, not even death itself, will separate us from God’s love. Christ may have felt momentarily torn from God, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me (just like you and I do in the wake of grief), but Holy Spirit never left Christ, and Holy Spirit never leaves us. It’s Holy Spirit that gave Christ the light he needed to see hope beyond his own death. Friends, it’s Holy Spirit who lights our way too.
We journey forward, one day at a time, relying on the faith that has carried saints like Jack, affirming the truth of God’s steadfast love, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Jack Horner is singing the praises of his Creator right now, alongside us, basking in the glow of God’s love.
Friends, let’s keep on lifting our praises in honor of the one and only, Jack Horner, who rests now in the eternal peace of Christ.
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Rev. Emily Munger
delights in connecting sacred texts with everyday life.