My bunny in Australia died on Sunday. My mum had prepared a feast for me thinking to celebrate my graduation. But instead, in addition to rejoicing we were mourning. There are many things to mourn for me these days – I have lost my status as a Harvard student, I lost my illegal bunny in Boston, I have parted ways with many friends, whom I long to see again but that will take time. My mother and sister left on Monday, and I mourn that parting too. Here is the service we held for Muffin. Rest in Peace.

Mortimer M. Huang: A Valediction Liturgy

Reader 1:

from The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

Gandalf Falls into Shadow


 

The dark figure streaming with fire raced towards them. The orcs yelled and poured over the stone gangways. Then Boromir raised his horn and blew. Loud the challenge rang and bellowed, like the shout of many throats under the cavernous roof. For a moment the orcs quailed and the firey shadow halted. Then the echoes died as suddenly as a flame blown out by a dark wind, and the enemy advanced again.

‘Over the bridge!’ cried Gandalf, recalling his strength. ‘Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!’ Aragorn and Boromir did not heed the command, but still held their ground, side by side, behind Gandalf at the far end of the bridge. The others halted just within the doorway at the hall’s end, and turned, unable to leave their leader to face the enemy alone. The Balrog reached the bridge. Gahdalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Galmdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.

‘You shall not pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. ‘I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.’

The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemd small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm. From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming. Glamdring glittered white in answer.

There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. The wizard swayed on the bridge, stepped back a pace, and then again stood still.

‘You cannot pass!’ he said.

With a bound the Balrog leaped full upon the bridge. Its whip whirled and hissed.

At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprang up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog’s feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained, poised, quivering, like a tongue of rock thrust out into emptiness.

With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasp vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools!’ he cried, and was gone.

 

The fires went out, and blank darkness fell. The company stood rooted with horror staring into the pit. Even as Aragorn and Boromir came flying back, the rest of the bridge cracked and fell. With a cry Aragorn roused them.

‘Come! I will lead you now!…. we must obey his last command. Follow me!’

Celebrant:

I am Resurrection and I am Life, says the Lord.
Whoever has faith in me shall have life,
even though he die.
And everyone who has life,
and has committed himself to me in faith,
shall not die for ever.

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth.
After my awaking, he will raise me up;
and in my body I shall see God.
I myself shall see, and my eyes behold him
who is my friend and not a stranger.

For none of us has life in himself,
and none becomes his own master when he dies.
For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord,
and if we die, we die in the Lord.
So, then, whether we live or die,
we are the Lord’s possession.

In the midst of life we are in death;
from whom can we seek help?
From you alone, O Lord,
who by our sins are justly angered.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

 

 

 

Hymn: In the Sweet By and By

 

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

Refrain

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

Refrain

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

Refrain

 

 

Reader 2: A Reading from the Old Testament

Genesis 18

The Three Visitors

1The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.2Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

3He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,[a]do not pass your servant by.4Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.5Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs[b]of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread.”

7Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it.8He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he said.

10Then the LORD[c]said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.11Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.12So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master[d]is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’14Is anything too hard for the LORD ? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.”

15Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

 

Song: Bright Eyes (Watership Down)


Music and Lyrics by Mike Batt

Is it a kind of dream
Floating out on the tide
Following the river of death downstream
Oh, is it a dream?

There’s a fog along the horizon
A strange glow in the sky
And nobody seems to know where you go
And what does it mean?
Oh, is it a dream?

Bright eyes
Burning like fire
Bright eyes
How can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes

Is it a kind of shadow
Reaching into the night
Wandering over the hills unseen
Or is it a dream?

There’s a high wind in the trees
A cold sound in the air
And nobody ever knows when you go
And where do you start
Oh, into the dark

Bright eyes
Burning like fire
Bright eyes
How can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes

Bright eyes
Burning like fire
Bright eyes
How can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes

Reader 1: Lord of the Rings Continued

Thus, at last, they came beyond hope under the sky and felt the wind on their faces. They did not halt until they were out of bowshot from the walls. The shadow of Misty Mountains lay upon it, but eastward there was golden light on the land. It was but one hour after noon. The sun was shining; the clouds were white and high.

They looked back. Dark yawned the archway of the Gates under the mountain-shadow. Faint and far beneath the earth rolled the slow drum-beats: doom. A thin black smoke trailed out. Nothing else was to be seen; the dale all around was empty. Doom. Grief at last wholly overcame them, and they wept long: some standing and silent, some cast upon the ground. Doom, doom. The drum-beats faded.

Celebrant: Let us now speak well of the dead.

Congregation is invited to share eulogies.

Reader 3: A Reading from the New Testament from the Gospel of John

 

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.18Bethany was less than two miles[a]from Jerusalem,19and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ,[b]the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

28And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”29When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.30Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.31When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.34“Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35Jesus wept.

Hymn: It is Well with my Soul

Words: Horatio G. Spafford, 1873; Music: Philip P. Bliss

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

Refrain

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

Refrain

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Refrain

Reader 4: The Windhover, Gerald Manly Hopkins

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

Responsive Reading: Psalm 90Domino, refugium
* = Celebrant, no * = Congregation
LORD, thou hast been our refuge, *
from one generation to another.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever the earth and the world were made, *
thou art God from everlasting, and the world without end.
Thou turnest man to destruction; *
again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday
when it is past, *
and as a watch in the night.
As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep, *
and fade away suddenly like the grass.
In the morning it is green, and groweth up; *
but in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered.
For we consume away in thy displeasure, *
and are afraid at thy wrathful indignation.
Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee, *
and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

For when thou are angry all our days are gone; *
we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told.
The days of our age are threescore years and ten;
and though men be so strong that thy come to fourscore years, *
yet is their strength then but labor and sorrow,
so soon passeth it away, and we are gone.
So teach us to number our days, *
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Psalm 121 (to music)

I lift my eyes to the hills

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the maker of heaven and earth –

He will not let my foot slip

He who watches over me will not slumber –

Indeed, he who watches over Israel

Will neither slumber nor sleep –

The LORD watches over you—

the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm—

he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.

Hymn: To God be the Glory

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Refrain

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Refrain

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Refrain

Reader 5: Love, We Must Part Now

Philip Larkin

Love, we must part now: do not let it be
Calamitious and bitter. In the past
There has been too much moonlight and self-pity:
Let us have done with it: for now at last
Never has sun more boldly paced the sky,
Never were hearts more eager to be free,
To kick down worlds, lash forests; you and I
No longer hold them; we are husks, that see
The grain going forward to a different use.

There is regret. Always, there is regret.
But it is better that our lives unloose,
As two tall ships, wind-mastered, wet with light,
Break from an estuary with their courses set,
And waving part, and waving drop from sight.

 

Reader 7: Revelation 21: The New Heaven and New Earth (ESV)

 

21:1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[1]of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[2]and God himself will be with them as their God.[3]4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”6And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.7The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.8But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

9Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,11having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.12It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—13on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls.16The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia.[4]Its length and width and height are equal.17He also measured its wall, 144 cubits[5]by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement.18The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass.19The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,20the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

22And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.24By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,25and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.26They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.27But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

Celebrant and People: Psalm 23King James Version

The LORD is my shepherd; *
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; *
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; *
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his
Name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; *
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
mine enemies; *
thou annointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Celebrant:

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death,
and giving life to those in the tomb.

The Sun of Righteousness is gloriously risen, giving light to
those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death.

The Lord will guide our feet into the way of peace, having
taken away the sin of the world.

Christ will open the kingdom of heaven to all who believe in
his Name, saying, Come, O blessed of my Father; inherit the
kingdom prepared for you.

 

Into paradise may the angels lead thee; and at thy coming

may the martyrs receive thee, and bring thee into the holy
city Jerusalem.

Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant(s) with thy saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.

Thou only art immortal, the creator and maker of mankind;
and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and unto earth shall
we return. For so thou didst ordain when thou createdst me,
saying, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” All

we go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make
our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant(s) with thy saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.

Celebrant 2:

Into thy hands, O merciful Savior, we commend thy servant
N.Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine
own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own
redeeming. Receivehiminto the arms of thy mercy, into the
blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious
company of the saints in light.Amen.

 

Celebrant and People:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of comfort:
Deal graciously, we pray thee, with all those who mourn, that
casting every care on thee, they may know the consolation of
thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.Amen.

 

Our worship has ended, our service has begun –

Go in Christ to love and serve the world –

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