Michael Lyall’s Address at Graham Berkeley’s Memorial Service
Grace Church in New York City, October 12 2001
Those of us who live and work in New York will tell you that September 11 dawned much like today: a sky so heart-achingly blue and the air so crystalline that it almost seemed you could reach out and touch infinity.
There is no reading, there are no words that could begin to describe or alleviate the horrific tragedy that then fell upon this family and this circle of friends. In the avalanche of words and images that has washed over all of us since September 11, one commentary, above all, has stuck in my mind. British Prime Minister Tony Blair uttered it at a memorial service for all the British victims of the catastrophe, held here in New York several weeks ago. He said, if I remember rightly, that without love there can be no grief.
Love and grief of this family and of these friends for a son and brother hideously murdered along with thousands of others.
Love and grief for this city, one of whose proudest symbols they razed.
Love and grief for this country, in which Graham and many of us here today have chosen to make our homes.
And love and pride in our civilization and its values, which they so desperately sought to deny.
And it is love which constitutes the enduring bridge between we the living and the departed dead. It is the love so eloquently expressed in one of the finest pieces of writing of all our civilization’s literature – Chapter X111 of St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians – and which mocks Graham’s vile murderers and their pathetic visions of harems in Hades:
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth: but whether there be prophesies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Thanks be to God for the life, friendship and love of a truly wonderful man.