Monday, March 21, 2011

19. Heaven, Heal Our Hearts

Here's something you always wished your hymnal had in it: A hymn for the burial of a dear friend whose religious status is unknown or uncertain. I write this in memory of my friend Richard Ashburner, the indispensible, irreplaceable manager of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, whose life ended very prematurely last week and whose funeral is tomorrow.
O Heaven, heal our hearts
In such a time of grief!
The friend who now departs,
The candle all too brief,
We lay upon Your care
And groan this simple prayer:
Since you have grace to spare,
Lord, help our unbelief!

Each whom this sorrow stings
Must one day have an end.
Yet comfort softly sings,
Begins with grief to blend:
With us, You also weep;
Us in God's grace You keep;
For us remains a sleep
Where every smart shall mend.

Now, Christ, who died to save
Both good and bad as one,
And three days thence whose grave
Stood wide, Your body gone:
Whatever be our fate,
Come death betimes or late,
Raise us at last to wait
Before Your glorious throne.PICTURED L to R: Richard, Symphony Chorus director Amy Kaiser, accompanist Gail Hintz, and assistant director Leon Burke, in a recent publicity shot. It's such a shame to break up the dream team!

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