There was a reading of Mark's favorite scripture:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
There was a reading of his obituary, and tributes written by me and by Mark's sister.
The entire congregation sang one of Mark's favorite hymns, Finlandia:
This is my song, O God of all the nations
A song of peace, for lands afar & mine
This is my home, the country where my heart is
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations
A song of peace for their land and for mine
In addition, Mark's college roommate and dear friend played guitar and sang an original song that was just beautiful. Another cherished friend lead the congregation in singing Ride 'Em Cowboys or whatever the OSU fight song is called. And to wrap up the service, another close friend acknowledged Mark's personality and love of baseball by singing Centerfield: "...a'roundin' third and headed for home, it's a brown-eyed handsome man...". It was the perfect ending to the perfect memorial service. If you knew Mark, you knew it was him "to a tee" and if you didn't know him at the beginning of the service, you had a good idea by the end.
I had feared that not a lot of people would show up. The service was in between Christmas and New Year's and so quite a few people were out of town. And due to the holidays, the newspaper didn't get the obituary published until the day of the memorial service. Still, the church, including the balcony, was packed. I couldn't believe it when they escorted us out of the sanctuary, and I turned around and saw all those faces. It was unbelievable and humbling and overwhelming. To this day, I'm still overwhelmed by the love that could be felt in that room.