We met all those long ago days in New Jersey. You were too old to be in the youth group, but you still hung around. I liked you instantly. Intense. Driven. That odd blink. Do you remember the songs we worked on together? I remember we wrote this one for Lazarus Sunday:
Dear friend, I sit here crying,
And yet you stay away.
Dear friend, my brother is dying,
He may not see another day.
He's lying in pain and anguish
And he doesn't know who we are.
You've got to come and save him now,
It's already gone too far.
But when Jesus heard the message
That his friend was close to death.
He stayed where he was for two more days
Till his friend drew his last breath.
Lazarus, O Lazarus, this thing that's happened to you
Has come to pass that the world may know
That what I say is true.
For I know you only sleep, only sleep.
And when he came to Bethany, Jesus saw their despair,
Being moved within his spirit, he wept for his friend there.
"Fear not, my sisters! For he will rise again."
"Yes, Lord, at the judgement day,
To that we say amen...
But what about now? What about now?"
"Mary, Martha, don't you see it yet?
Don't you see?
That I am the resurrection for those who believe in me?"
And so they said how he loved him,
As they rolled the stone away.
But a silence fell upon them
As he looked to heaven to pray.
"Father, I know you hear me,
But that they may believe
That it was You who sent me
Salvation to achieve,
Father, You hear me,
Hear me now!
Lazarus, O Lazarus,
Come out now!"
And from the tomb he came out
In his grave clothes all arrayed.
The Lord said: "Take them off him,
And do not be afraid."
And so our story ends here
With so much more to say.
He cares enough to lead us
And bring us all the way
Home to His Father, our Father.
Do you remember Joy having a fit about us performing it with the youth group on such short notice, and how it worked just fine anyway? We always loved proving Joy wrong!
I remember only a week after we sang it, the horrible phone call from my mother. My brother died in a car accident. And who took care of everything? You did. You got us a flight. You got us to the airport. And you were there waiting when we got back too.
I remember your visit to our first call in North Caroline - and how you bought us that white beaded bedspread. I should have known better than to mention in your hearing that it was something we were thinking about getting!
I remember the shock and joy when YOU heeded my words and came to seminary. By then, not alone. With Melanie and Amy. And soon Emily, baptized right here. I remember the many afternoons spent lolling about after service - all of us sacked out on the parsonage floor.
I remember preaching your ordination - text was on Romans 1:16. I remember being so proud of you that day. And then the day that you all called to let us know another little Ritoch was on the way and would we be her godparents. David, I remember her in my prayers each day. I promise that will not stop.
I remember my sadness when you left Sweet Springs. I remember how great it was to have YOU do Lauren and Dean's wedding, with help from the ever capable Amy.
I remember my perplexity and sorrow when you and Melanie separated and then married again. I was not a very good friend to you in these last days, David. I hope you will forgive me. I was so confused that I didn't know what to say. I should have at least said this: I love you, and you will ever be dear to me.
I say it now, and I say it in the confidence that you will still hear and know.
The memories roll on and on. But I wanted to post this. I wanted people to know the song we wrote, and I hope Melanie and the girls will take comfort from such faith as this residing in your heart.
Rest in peace, my David. Thank you for all you have done and been to me. Rest in peace!
[David, his wife Judy, his mother Eileen were killed in a car crash on highway 70 in Missouri on Friday, returning home from his daughter Amy's wedding. Please remember the rest of the family in your prayers.]