“Larry McMurtry probably qualifies as the Homer of Texas with the epic narratives with which he has blessed us. I like Lonesome Dove. Maybe you remember the episode where the young Irish boy is crossing a river and he comes across a nest of cotton mouth water moccasins. With 15 or 20 bites, he really had no chance. As they dragged him out to the banks, he quickly succumbed to the toxic poisons of those snakes. They held an impromptu service there, as our forebears were forced to do, as they encountered the harshness of nature.
His brother tried to sing a song, but broke down and began to sob, so Augustus steps forward and says, “I’ll say a few words. This young man is a fine, brave young man. He overcame his fear of riding. He had a fine tenor voice and we will miss him. But he came to a part of the world that was new to him, and he didn’t understand, and he had an accident, a bad one. You and I might do the same if we’re not careful.”
Then Augustus swung himself up onto his horse and said, “Now, dust to dust, and let’s the rest of us get on to Montana.”
It sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Yet that is our task, those of us who remain behind. As the poet Robert Frost said, “We have miles to go before we sleep. Miles to go before we sleep.”
–Dr. John Fiedler, “For All the Saints,” sermon at First United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas.