I suppose it was just as it should have been. Palm Sunday. Hosanna…..Crucify…..a phone call that my good friend and seminary classmate, The Rev. Larry Motz, had died after a valiant struggle with cancer.
We waved palms outside the gym. Paraded around to All Glory Laud and Honor, led by our talented organist playing her flute. The gym was pretty full, and a couple of new families joined us. Yet, Larry was on my mind.
I could fill this blog up with stories about my friend. We visited Seabury on the same day, and ended up living one floor apart on our end of the apartment complex on campus. He was class president, I was vice president (after a hotly contested runoff!). We were as different as you can be. Larry, the GQ model, single, impeccably attired at all times. Me with the wife and 3 kids, almost always in a t-shirt and shorts, rarely shaven, loving escaping from the banker attire I had worn for 20 years.
Larry taught me much…..way more than I can express here. I loved him. I learned from him. I worshipped with him. He started a Caritas group on campus to do pastoral care, and my family was their 1st customer (my son was quite ill our 1st year of seminary).
Larry was very funny, saving his expressions and comments for the right time (“you may be seated” – inside joke).
Lord, there is so much more to say.
Yesterday while presiding at Holy Eucharist, I had one of those moments. This will sound weird. It happened to me the very 1st time I celebrated Eucharist after my priest ordination, and on occasions since. While celebrating, sometimes, I am able to observe….well…..myself. It’s like I am watching this amazing and risky act while I am doing it. The “awesome-ness” of being the celebrant, at times, speaks to me. Yesterday it happened again, but in a different way. As I was saying the words, I could see Larry. He was in a purple chasuble and stole, a very pretty set, it was one he bought while we were in seminary. I could hear his voice, see him doing the manual acts, holding the elements, breaking the bread. For a brief moment, I thought I would break down, but instead I was strengthened by his presense, I knew he was giving me “that look”, and that I needed to carry on. In a sense, we con-celebrated, although no one else knew it. It was a blessing and powerful and…yes…weird. But there was such a sweetness and goodness about it, above all else it was just RIGHT.
I told those classmates of mine that I have spoken to since getting the news, that it is just like Larry to influence us once again – to give us a living example of Holy Week in its fullest, to help us one more time, this week. For Larry has made it through his Good Friday. He had told his Bishop that he feared he would not make it to Easter, when in fact that is exactly what he has done – made it to Easter. So for us that knew him, he has made our Holy Week and Easter a time deeper and richer and sadder and ….. RIGHT.
My brother, may you go from strength to strength in the life of perfect service in God’s heavenly kingdom. I will miss you. I will see you again. God bless.