It was a doubleheader@ DAPC … two opportunities to give thanks, sing praises to God and drink of the Spirit’s Comforting presence.
It began, as it generally does, with the normal service at 10 am, which once again featured the musical talents of one of our members: Chuck Watt. Once again, the music was wonderful and varied (as we have come to expect from Chuck)… a little piano, a little organ, a little trombone --- a little traditional, a little global flair, a little gospel. Thanks Chuck for your generosity as you share your musical gifts and repertoire with us all. Cynthia DeVore’s Children’s message was a classic … Who Knew the “Whole Armor of God … to withstand the evil day” Ephesians 6: 13 – the lectionary for the day awaits us all right in our kitchens and hall closet! Well the people of DAPC, young and aged, do … Amen!
And then, after a brief interlude for the players (oops: participants) to rest-up and eat their lunches, the second service: Jim Vellenga’s Memorial – which was not normal by any standard. Memorials are always a bittersweet amalgamation of feelings and expressions… a mixture of loss and grief and the sustaining memories that buoy us up. While Jim’s death has created a huge cavity of emptiness in his family, our church and in our inner most being, the potential for somberness quickly evaporated during his service. We Presbys call a funeral “The Witness to the Resurrection” and indeed it was! From the very beginning, the Spirit of Jim - his optimism, humor, strength, faith, joy, encouragement, wisdom, mentoring and all encompassing passion for understanding and life – wiped away any sense of grimness. The highlights … how can there be highlights when everything was top-notch? The strength, joy and open tears of Jim and Kathleen’s children – Carolyn, Tom and Charlotte (in non birth order!) – Yes that was powerful. The Video of Jim and the wilderness, Jim and the Family, Jim and cars, Jim at Rivendell … etc, etc, etc: yes, that was wonderful. My favorite, a black & white of Jim - bearded, hooded and looking out sternly upon the world – forever in my mind the “Nordic” Jim. The full house congregation, embracing a widely varied and wonderfully diverse swath of our wide community … Jim’s world: yes what a tribute to a renaissance man Child of God. But truly, and how appropriately, music took center stage as the voice of our farewell to Jim V. From Grand-daughter Hannah’s star song in Hebrew, to the choir’s poignant, yet heartening, “I Wanna Be Ready” including Ruthie’s inspired solo, to Chuck Watt’s mastery on trombone, piano & organ, to the rousing voice of hundreds singing together Morning Has Broken & I Wanna Be Ready. To Archie Weatherspoon’s spiritually transcendent “Eye of the Sparrow”, our Witness To The Resurrection for Jim was a musical tribute. … AND THE CHURCH SAID AMEN … WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT! Then we visited, ate, cried some more, embraced and returned to the lives we will now live in the P.J.V. (Post Jim V) eras of our lives and in our world. And the sun dawned today as we step into a new world … Hallelujah, Amen!
It is amazing, wonderful, and enriching to see the large number of people, choir, kitchen workers, ushers and others just step in and make the service work. I don’t believe too many churches could get such willing, eager and hardworking volunteers as DAPC has. THANKS to ALL that made this service so wonderful!
Peace & Grace