The tradition of the Passion of the Christ says that he was taken down from the cross, from his bed of pain, and placed in the arms of his mother. And so we have the Pieta--humanity embracing its dreaded enemy, death, and wondering if this is all there is. Finally, however, Mary too had to repeat her son's words, "It is finished," and let him go. She had to let others taken him and put him away, out of sight. And the moment he was laid in the tomb and the stone rolled in place, tradition says that a strange thing happened: both Jesus in the tomb and Mary without and all the others who were there, in a chorus shouted with relief, "It is finished! It is finished!" Until they were exhausted. Until death just had to be, because behind its release was blessed peace. It is finished.

This morning I said goodbye to Robert Arthur Horsky, the most talented organist I've ever had the pleasure of meeting and working with. I had known him my entire life. He played the organ at the church during my Baptism, during my Confirmation, during my brother's wedding, during my sister's funeral. He played every Sunday, fast and loud, to the utter amazement and joy of everyone assembled. He's the reason I ever picked up an instrument, ever joined the choir, ever returned after being shunned by a previous Rector.

Fast and loud, Bob.

At the beginning of last month, he became ruthlessly ill with a fever that would not relent. After a week of this unbearable agony, he was told an aneurysm was found, and operation was necessary, without waiting for the feverous infection to subside. The operation weakened him greatly. We, in the choir and the congregation, sent letters and cards, and a few of us visited him while he was home.

On 9 January, at 4:30 in the morning, he shuffled off elsewhere, in his sleep.

Rest eternal grant unto them O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them. Thou, O God, art praised in Sion, and unto thee shall the vow be performed in Jerusalem: thou that hearest the prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

The Requiem mass we sang was not a loud one, nor complex. It has been 5 days since he passed, there was no time to assemble Mozart's. A simple mass, composed primarily of Gregorian chant, Collects and Epistles, and a beautiful homily produced by the Church curate, which I will never forget.

Our guest organist played the Prelude in B Minor, O thou of God the Father, and Prelude in G by J.S. Bach, three of the most bitterly wonderful pieces ever put to paper by the genius Bach, of whom Bob was a lifelong admirer--and he turned all of us into the same with his playing, his passion, his love.

The organ in that church shall forever remain a testament to Bob in my eyes. If I ever sit on that bench again and pull out the stops (and I will), I will do so in loving memory of one of the greatest men I've ever met.

They had watched so long,
Cried so often,
Comforted so frequently,
Agonized so deeply,
Journeyed so far,
Prayed so hard,
Spoken so much.

In Loving Memory of
January 7, 1937 - January 9, 2005

Fast and loud, Bob.