Members of the Pastoral Transition Team who attended David Massey's memorial service Feb. 16 in Charleston share this prayer from the service:
David’s Memorial Prayer
Gracious and Loving God, Creator of the Universe,
the God we know best, through Jesus of Nazareth.
We worship you, though our hearts are broken.
Too soon, David’s life is completed, too soon.
Beautiful music, and words, and scripture, in this beautiful place.
We sing, and pray, and listen, with the taste of salt water on our lips.
The mystery of life and death pull at our heart – strings, Lord.
We recite ancient teachings, searching for comfort, for aching hearts.
Too soon. Too soon.
Yes, Lord -- we laugh with each other to stories of David’ childhood.
Yes, Lord, we are touched by stories of David’s compassion for the needy.
His joy in family gatherings,
his enthusiasms for outdoor winter sport, and, later,
his passion for indoor, meal – based hospitality.
We marvel at his rich variety of interests, in one man,
baptized so long ago, for his life’s fascinating journey.
Yes, Lord, we gather here with hearts full of gratitude,
for your unique son, David Preston Massie,
whose life touched so many, so many of us,
even though some of us might want to argue with you, Lord,
about the timing of David’s death.
We weren’t ready to say goodbye to him, Lord.
We wish we could have given one more hug,
shared one more meal, one more laugh, with him.
It’s all been so sudden, Lord. So unexpected. Too soon. Too soon.
Help us, O Unseen Spirit, help us to catch up to these
fast – moving events. Hear us, we pray.
Hear our wonder, at his wish, come true, that his body parts,
might give new life, to others.
Such a personal, priceless gift, to those in need.
Hear our anger, Lord, so we may begin to heal.
Hear our sorrow, so we may begin to grieve.
Hear our stories, so we may laugh, in joy, again.
Yes, hear our gratitude, Lord,
for meals lovingly prepared in his honor,
for food served in his memory.
Today, we hear that “Death is not the last word.”
We need to hear that, again and again.
We want to believe that “Death is not the last word.”
We worship you, O Lord of Life and Death, though our hearts are broken.
Too soon. David’s life, completed. Too soon.
You are the Gracious and Loving God of Abraham and Sarah.
You are the Creator of the Universe, the God of Life and Death.
We worship and adore you.
Though our hearts are broken. Amen.
Prayer at the Memorial for David P. Massie at First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, Charleston S.C.
Rev. Art Gatewood, Parish Associate, Feb. 16, 2019.