At last night’s service, officiant John Bickel wrote this beautiful bidding prayer on the eve of the Feast of St. Mary (and Carl’s last Compline):
God of Joy and Music: On this night we remember Mary the mother of Christ. Thou hast chosen a humble virgin to give birth to the Savior of the world. Her important place in the Gospels highlights the key role of women, especially mothers. For in their caring and nurturing, we find divine love.
Also in music we experience a connection to the supernatural. For indeed Thou has created the birds of the air and the voices of choirs to sing Thy praises. As this night’s darkness brings to an end this day, this compline service also brings to an end the 35 years of musical leadership of Thy servant and our friend, Carl Crosier. We thank Thee for the beauty and grace he hath brought to the ministry of music in Compline. We ask Thy hand of care upon him in his retirement from our midst.
We ask these petitions in name of Thy Son our Lord who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, now and forever. Amen.
When I heard these words, it was almost like being able to preview Carl’s funeral–except he isn’t dead yet—no matter how often Pastor Jeff calls it the Carl Crosier Memorial T-shirt! But as Mary Reese said tonight after the service (her husband, David Reese, sang with the Compline Choir for many years before he died), there were a lot of ghosts in the service. I couldn’t help but think back to all the people who have sung Compline within these walls and gone on—some to other parts of the world and others to their eternal rest: Walter Williams, David Hall, Steve Fitzgerald, David Reese, Kavin Higa, and George Macdonald.
After the service there was a small reception in the board room to celebrate Carl’s retirement.