A Eulogy for Keith Douglas Bryant by Dave Holland

A Eulogy for Keith Douglas Bryant by Dave Holland

Sermons
John 14: 1-4
1] “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. [2] In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? [3] And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
These words echoed by the Beloved John are some of the most powerful words in scripture because they remind us of our mortality. They remind us that some day we must return home.  The travels of the sojourner are like a river full of adventure, struggles, dangers, happiness, and today sadness.  However, it is indeed a journey and like every river, it must flow eventually into the mist.  Today our hearts are reminded how important that journey really is, how important it was to have journeyed with such an important person.  We do not get to choose how that journey will begin or end, we just know today, we are the blessed one’s, to have journeyed with Keith Douglas Bryant.
 Today we came into this moment on our journey to celebrate his life.  Today you will hear many words of celebration and an outpouring of Love rarely seen in modern times.  Why, because like me many of you I was the blessed one that spent time with Keith.  Keith was like the bother I never had, and indeed, many others felt the same.  He was kind, patient, and soft spoken.  Every room in this Great Cathedral has felt his influence, from the rust in the dampest part of the basement to the lights above you, Keith, touch in some way with his enormous talent.  You see, I am a dreamer, and Keith shared in my dreams for this Congregation.  When I would get a crazy idea to create or build or sew or water or paint or morn, Keith was always with me.  When I would say Keith how sure are you that we can do this, the response was always,” bother, we can do anything”.  Yes, it is true that Keith and I spent lots of time together, in doing so he taught me much about construction, but mostly he taught me what true discipleship looked like in real time.  One only needs to look around this room to see his influence as a disciple.  Like a disciple he ran towards people.  He ran towards people in their celebration and in their struggles. His influence on the youth of this community is immeasurable, his Love for the Kingdom and our God was also immeasurable.
Keith is in front of us forever captured in Christopher Holt’s great Fresco, I like to call works of the Beatitudes.  This likeness shows Keith at his best, holding up the table for all to come and enjoy fellowship and food.  He seemed to be always presence with the tables, with the kitchen, with the dish room, or wherever he was needed.  Indeed, many of our relationships with Keith started underneath that table, for me, I met Keith the very first time, standing in the dining room.  Keith approached me not really knowing who I was and said, “I am looking for a man named Dave Holland, God has sent me here to lend him a hand and help him in anyway I can”.  I said “Well that man is me, and it is nice to meet you, I could sure use some help.  There was rarely a day after that we did not spend time together.  Our journey began like to old friends that had found each other again, even though we had never met.  Who I am today and how I react to the world and all of creation, will always be influenced by Keith?  He called me “Dave-Man, and he took his coffee with Cream and Sugar.  His tolerance for measurement was 1/8 of a inch and we would spend hours correcting that short fall. It was the only time we would argue, which most always ending with me retrieving another cup of coffee and holding another object in place for another hour, during which time he would always say, Dave-Man, why we even gonna do this if we don’t do it right.  I never found a response to doing something wrong as opposed to doing something right, even though I could never truly see the eighth of an inch he as talking about.
For many of us and especially for me, just having known Keith Douglas Bryant was a true honor.  His love for God and the Kingdom was clear and precise.  It poured out on us from his smile, his cheerful demeanor, and his ability to love anyone.  Though he would never say it, his. struggles in life would pale in comparison to the uplifting spirit that influenced all of us.  Keith spoke of his family often; I knew through our conversations that his children and his siblings were very important to him and always on his mind. We had many conversations about his family, and our follies in life. It is my hope that you will take comfort in knowing what a special person Keith was. It is an honor just meeting you and we thank you for sharing a part of Keith’s Life with us.  Keith read a lot, we talked about what he read often.  Keith was a lover of poems so I would like to share with you a short poem by one of my favorite poets that reminds me of our journey together.
A Psalm of Life
BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.
Keith Douglas Bryant, we will miss you always, but we take confront in knowing that you are home, your journey here is done, but your influence on all of us will live on, forever, and your image will forever influence each and every congregation gathered in these pews to celebrate the God that you knew so well.  And remember, “God Loves You”………