Earlier this week, a requiem Eucharist was held for my father, The Rev. Canon David C. Lord, Rector Emeritus at Trinity Episcopal Church in Vero Beach, Florida. As a priest, I have prayed the rites of Christian Burial at countless funerals and have walked along side those who were filled with the fragile emotions of sadness, regret, gratitude, pride, and yes, deep joy. Now it was my turn to experience the liturgy from the inside of one who mourns. The prayers and ritual spoke evocatively of hopeful reassurance for the future. Death may end a physical life, but it does not end a relationship.
My brother Rob and I had the privilege of sharing brief reflections about our father after the Gospel reading from John 14:1-6. Rob spoke movingly of our father’s fierce courage and relentless compassion and his wonderful gift of proclaiming the life and hope of Christ for others. I shared a conversation I had with my father when I was an undergraduate struggling to understand my place in the world and also spoke about a humorous conversation we shared with him just a few days before his death. The reflections were followed by the sermon delivered by long time friend, Bishop John Howe, currently Diocesan Bishop of Central Florida. It was a gospel-centered sermon inviting us to trust in the unique life of Jesus Christ and to rest in the conviction that “where I am, you will be also.” My father, formed in the evangelical catholic tradition, would have loved it.
Let me finally add my heartfelt thanks to those of you who have written or called over the last few days. To be held in the thoughts and prayers of so many has been a source of healing and strength for our family.
You can listen to our reflections and Bishop Howe’s sermon below.