31 August 2014

33 Years! A Long Friendship


33 years ago, Sue-z and I baby in arms, came to the Episcopal Church. We were somewhat battered, the Missouri Synod Congregation of my youth and most of our marriage had become an evangelical right-wing place we could no longer abide. We found people who maintained the catholic worship traditions we loved, welcomed us into their church, and recruited us into their ministries. In short the Gospel as it was intended was alive and well at Emmanuel!

Emmanuel's people were so good at pulling new people in, that we were both singing in the choir, I was reading lessons as a lector, and Sue-z was learning the altar guild's tasks, before we had decided to leave Missouri Synod. In fact, we decided when we realized how completely we haed become, very quickly, involved in Emmanuel. Michael was one of our healers as we passed through the pain of separation and the joy of becoming new "Episcopals."

Michael was a major part of that welcoming, enfolding hospitality. Secure in the parish he had become a member of at baptism, he held the doors open wide, his arms ready to hug, and his infectious smile ever ready.

Michael embodied the maxim, "Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi." Literally, this translates, "as we pray, so we believe. Ask a specific question about the faith, he was completely competent to answer it. But he preferred his liturgical and visiting ministries He showed via what he did, what he believed. That alone is an epitaph for the ages.

Michael became a verger about a year ago. Emmanuel has not benefited from the ministry of vergers very often. They are rare in the diocese of Chicago. Michael made it sing. His precise, dedicated completely involved approach to liturgy, his gentle correction when something did not go well, and his sense of humour served him, and Emmanuel well. He showed us all how he prayed, and through his other ministries, how that worked in his belief and life.

This morning, after a short but difficult battle with coronary arrhythmia and various breathing issues, Michael passed from life, through death, to life everlasting. He carried with him the love of the congregation, the clergy he served for decades, and the devotion and love of his family. He also carried a bit of my heart.

He finished his race, a life well and devoutly lived. May he rest in peace and rise in glory!

8 comments:

JCF said...

Oh, {{{Jim}}} Michael was your son? Am I reading this right?

Prayers!

"May he rest in peace and rise in glory!": Amen and Amen!

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Amen

Jim said...

Thanks Len. It was a really tough day at Emmanuel yesterday. Michael died at 1:28 Local, so our deacon announced his death before the liturgy began. First time I can recall I ever went to communion in tears. I was not alone. The entire congregation was or had been weeping.

We WILL survive, we will even laugh, but Sunday was for prayer and tears.

Amen!

Jim said...

He was actually my contemporary, he was about 3 years younger than I. We were friends, fellow lay servers at many levels in the ministry of our parish.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Gentle, beautiful friend in life and beyond..blessings are now as before now. Love to all, la paz, Len

Jenn Vince said...

I want us to honor Mike in a big way. I am dicussing some ideas with Bill Hoekwater.

Missy Meyer aka the baby of the family said...

Oh, Jim . It is so heart warming to read your thoughts and feelings about my brother. Michael was more of a big brother to me, sometimes a father to me after our dad's passing. He was the only one on is earth that loved me unconditionally; I always felt that he was proud of me no matter what was going on.
It's so hard to know that I will never see his smile or receive one of his huge hugs again here on earth. But my only comfort is knowing that he is sharing owe hugs and smiles with all of heavens residents.

Jim said...

Missy,
He did have that amazing smile and hug didn't he?

I am glad to know you liked my post.
He was a part of all our hearts, and we will all miss him.

hugs!

jimB

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