My dear friends at Southminster,
Among the many moving tributes offered to honor Mark Ball—his life, his passion, his artistry, his deep and abiding faith, his love of the church—I want to share this one very brief and declarative statement with you as I write today:
He made us all feel like performers!!
Our grief over the death of our dear friend, our staff member, a guiding light to us in so many ways is profound. It will be deep and abiding. We know, like so many others who had the chance to work with Mark making music, what we have lost. We will have a chance to share our grief and our deep gratitude for his life and all of the gifts we have received from him this coming Saturday as we gather in our sanctuary and spill out into other areas of our church building in witness to the resurrection.
The Brief Statement of Faith, part of our Book of Confessions in the Presbyterian Church, (USA) begins with these words: “In life and in death we belong to God.” We affirm the promise of our faith for our brother, that beyond this mortal life we all share there is abundant and eternal life with God in the communion of the saints in light. Mark loved the hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.” He particularly loved it when we had the opportunity to sing it at a service of Witness to the Resurrection:
changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Mark is new and whole in his resurrection body…he has joined the celestial choir. The music is glorious. That makes me happy. Sing on, brother!
We remain. Let us honor our brother in Christ and friend by channeling his joy and emotion and passion as we continue to gather week in and week out for worship…as we lift up our voices in congregational song…as we listen to a musical offering by our choir, or someone playing the piano, or the organ. In the way that our faith opens to us to burst the bonds of time and space and continue to enjoy communion with those who have preceded us into God’s presence, Mark will be watching…and smiling with joy. Let us sing on, my friends, sing on!
Grace and Peace,