My friend, Frances, died this morning. Frances was a member of Mount Vernon Place. A lover of music and an accomplished musician, she was drawn to the church many years ago by our choir. There was a place for Frances to sing in the choir. Frances loved music. She loved people. She loved helping out wherever she could. She loved her apartment in Falls Church and the freedom she had to use public transportation whenever she needed to get around the city.
Frances has been in and out of hospitals and rehab centers since I was appointed to Mount Vernon Place. For the last 14 months I have seen her regularly in her 'temporary' homes. I've visited her in several different hospitals. I have seen her in numerous nursing homes. I have talked with her in her home, and I have seen her at the church when she was strong enough to come.
One of the gifts of being a pastor is having the privilege of praying with people wherever they are. At the conclusion of each visit I would turn to Frances with a simple question, "What should I pray for today Frances?" Each time she would reply, "Please pray for the church and for you." While Frances was the one struggling to regain strength or find the capacity to return home, Frances never asked for prayers for herself. She was always more concerned with what was happening at the church she loved. She was always interested in supporting her pastor instead of her pastor giving her support. Frances was one of the most unselfish individuals I have ever met.
We'll celebrate Frances' life sometime next week. We'll gather in the sanctuary at 900 Massachusetts. Hymns will be sung. Soloists will sing. The scriptures will be read and proclaimed. Our faith will be affirmed. And a life -- a beautiful, generous, precious life -- will be celebrated.
"I want to go home, Donna." These words are words that were spoken often by Frances during our visits. I am quite convinced that Frances is, indeed, home on this day.
Thank you, Lord, for Frances. Thank you for sharing her with us. Thank you for allowing her to be my friend.