Cyrissa’s Song


Cyrissa Haroldeane Lubeck

87, went to be with her dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Sunday, January 22 2023.

Cyrissa was born on November 5, 1935 in Boston, MA to William W. Clarke and Virginia W. Clarke. She was baptized into the Holy Christian Church in November 1935 at a Congregational Church in Marion, MA. After Cyrissa was graduated from high school in Danbury CT, she went on to get her degree in teaching from Danbury State Teachers College. She then went on to spend many years instructing many elementary school students, both in CT and in Houston, TX.

In 1958, she met her future husband, Howard E. Lubeck, in Puerto Rico where he was stationed with the Army and she was teaching. Cyrissa was confirmed in the faith of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1958 at Transfiguration Lutheran Church, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Howard and her were married June 13, 1958 at Geo. O Robinson School Chapel, Santurce, Puerto Rico. Their union was blessed with three children, Alan, Vanessa, and Glen, as well as an adopted granddaughter, Faith.

After retirement, her love of children caused her to continue teaching by tutoring neighborhood children and as a volunteer helper at Anderson Mill Elementary School in Austin, TX. She also spent many years as a Sunday School teacher. She loved Christmas, singing, and hosting themed parties for her friends on holidays. She also was devoted to her cat, Tash, and her mini lab retriever, Aviar, which she called, “The best dog in the whole world!”

Cyrissa was predeceased by her parents, William and Virginia Clarke, a brother John Clarke, as well as her daughter, Vanessa. She is survived by her beloved husband, Howard, and children Alan, Glen and adopted granddaughter, Faith. Cyrissa will be greatly missed by her family and friends for whom she was always showing her loving concern and smiling encouragement.

Burial will follow in Killeen at the Fort Hood Veterans Cemetery February 10 at 1 PM.

Cyrissa’s Song

Dear Family and Friends: Your wife, mom, grandmother, friend, liked to sing. You know that about her. You know that her favorite Christmas carol is the rather difficult to sing “O Holy Night.” Every year for the 20 plus years we caroled at her home, we sang it to her. Even though we rarely sang it elsewhere, we always sang it for her. One year, quite early on, she sang it solo for us. That was special and actually good.

Cyrissa had another song, one she heard the Wednesday before she passed and again less than 24 hours before the angels came for her. It’s called in the Communion liturgy The Nunc Dimittis, “Now dismiss.” It’s called Simeon’s Song from the aged Simeon who first sang it 40 days after Christmas. You will confess a paraphrase of this song at the end of the funeral liturgy. Cyrissa heard it at the end as she had sung it at the start of her life in the Lutheran Church: “ Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

Cyrissa’s eyes did see the Lord’s promised salvation despite a lifetime of illness. Cyrissa was at Seton Central for surgery; I don’t remember which one. I was with her in the pre-surgery room. A nurse came in carrying a bulging file more than a foot wide. It was Cyrissa’s medical records. What does that sort of life look like? You loved ones and close friends know better than I. I asked her later when was her first medical matter. She said, “When I was born my head was attached to my shoulder. They had to do surgery to correct that.” So what did surgery look like in 1935? But that was only the first of what I can only describe as weird medical things that befell Cyrissa. Things with her thyroid, bones, bowels, bladder, and more. I became Cyrissa’s pastor when she was the age I am now. She already had a multitude of afflictions. I don’t know that I could bear for 22 years what this woman did. Yet, I’ve lost count of how many times over those years, Cyrissa would give a spontaneous confession of how good God was.

During 5 or more years of almost complete immobility, she continued to receive my Word and Sacrament ministry. She continued to confess that she believed in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the dead, and the life everlasting for Jesus’ sake. Her life was not a bed of roses preaching to her the forgiveness of sins; her body certainly wasn’t teaching her of resurrection; and everlasting life didn’t show itself either. But she confessed all three. She believed all three. She believed that when she partook of the Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of her Savior, she was eating forgiveness, resurrection, and life.

This is a point worth repeating. These things were not evident to eyes, ears, or any of the senses. Actually, every now again, Cyrissa would say she felt them. Despite their hiddenness behind a sick body, a frail body, a pained, uncomfortable body, she confessed them. Once I was visiting and Cyrissa’s mother was there. I don’t understand the mother - daughter dynamic in general, but there was something there between this mom and daughter, and it was theological. I know that for a fact, but I can’t remember the point. I only know that when it came time to distribute the Body and Blood of Christ, Cyrissa asked if she could receive them kneeling. And she did! It was her testimony to the fact that her Lord and Savior were present right then and there. She was saying by her outward action what Simeon did when he took the Christ-child from Mother Mary’s arms: Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation. I’ve communed hundred and hundreds of people privately over 40 years. She’s the only one who has ever asked to receive the Holy Communion on bended knee.

Let me tell you another mother-daughter story that reflects Cyrissa confessing of things not evident. Vanessa, her daughter, and I went many rounds together till she at last died in the Faith. But they were heated discussions some in person, some on the phone. After one with Vanessa where I was emphatic – that also means loud – I was talking to Cyrissa on the phone. I think I had called about coming to see her, but she might have even called me. I  remember her saying: “Pastor you told Vanessa the right two things she needed to answer.” They were: do I need a savior from Sin, Death, and the Devil that are leading me to hell, and #2 who is, who can be that Savior?” There are not a whole lot of parents that can see their child get crossways with a pastor and take his side. You wife, your mom, your grandmom, and my friend did.

So, do you know the question that faces you today in the light of Cyrissa’s death, your loss – even if temporary - and grief? Do your eyes see the Lord’s salvation here? Sure you see what St. Paul saw in our Epistle reading, 2 Corinthians 5. Here is a tent that was worn, weathered. A tent of groans, of longing, of burdens. Here was a tent that needed tearing down, but can you see Cyrissa further clothed in Jesus’ blood and righteousness? Can you see that in her Baptism she bore His beauty and His glorious dress? Can you see that even in life the Lord was able to do for her what He promised? She did. Walking by faith not by sight we can too. 

The aged Simeon who seems frail and close to dying could confess that the Baby he held in his arms was his salvation. What? The Child hadn’t done anything. O yes He had. God the Son had taken on flesh and blood in the womb of a Virgin. He had stepped into the breach between the Holy God and us sinners. He had forestalled the wrath of God breaking out against all mankind by becoming Man. Already in the womb, the Man of Sorrows was bearing our griefs. Already He who inhabited the praises of eternity, was in fallen time for us. Already He was taking our place, doing what we could not, keep all the Commandments. Already He was under the Law. Already, perfectly innocent, He was heading for a date before the bar of God’s justice to confess Himself guilty of our sins. Cyrissa saw that He confessed hers; do you see that He confessed, yours, mine, ours?

“Long lay the world in sin and error pinning” laments Cyrissa’s Christmas carol. I think she keenly felt that, and she knew the antidote to it. It’s in the next verse, “the King of kings in lowly manger” lying “in all our trials born to be our Friend.” It’s also in our Gospel reading. The King James correctly translates, “You believe in God.” Most people do, you know? The Bible says only a fool says there’s no God, but guess what? Even devils believe there is a God. If you believe God apart from Christ, you know you were created by Him and answerable to Him. That’s cold-comfort. That is no comfort because I don’t know about you but I have no answer for my sin and sinfulness. Jesus does. That’s why the crucial point is not believing in an all powerful, invisible, faceless God who says He is a consuming Fire and dwells in light unapproachable. No, the crucial point is as Jesus says, “Believe also in Me.”

Jesus is our wisdom, salvation, sanctification and more. Jesus is the Rock of Ages that clefts for us. His skin, which is our skin, was whipped, slapped, tortured, nailed, damned, died, and pierced. Because Jesus’ skin is the skin of God, and because it was innocent, holy, not having done, said, or thought all the wicked things I have, His skin is a wrath-removing offering. His suffering, damning, and dying appeased the white-hot wrath of God which no sinner not me, not you, not anyone can withstand. In Jesus the fires of God’s wrath have been quenched. Hear the sizzle, and know that now this Jesus is here for you, for all, for Cyrissa: The Waters of Jesus’ Baptism clothe a person with Him. He’s present in Words of forgiveness spoken in His name. And in Bread that is His Body and in Wine that is His Blood Jesus is present to all five senses.

I think Cyrissa is an artist. I know she liked to color intricate patterns. She appreciated imagery. So do you see that the Good Shepherd has kept His promises to this sheep of His who is also your wife, mom, grandmom, friend? He didn’t let her down. Certainly in the heavenly mansions Cyrissa doesn’t think that. But how about you? Is Cyrissa in want now in the arms of her Shepherd? Not hardly. Her soul that was in a body plagued by so many things, so much pain, is restored. What about the Valley of the Shadow of Death? Did she need to fear evil? Did the Lord leave her there? No and no. Jesus is at least as good as a Divine Shepherd as fallen men are to their sheep. But can we fully confess the last line of Psalm 23: that ‘goodness and mercy’' followed her all the days of her life and she now dwells in the house of the Lord forever?

Surgery after surgery, loss after loss, pain upon pain, Cyrissa experienced, but she almost always could get back to the blessing of her family, her husband, her church. O there were down times. But I think even then her New Man confessed the truth of God’s grace. I say this because years ago when Cyrissa was in a coma for more than a week. I went to see her several times. When I came back from vacation she was to herself, and she said, “You know I heard every word you said.” I asked, “We’re they a comfort?” And you know how like the Yankee she is, she would answer usually directly with “Yes.” This time she said, “Oh yes.” May the words that comforted her comfort you until you see each other in the world without end. Amen

Rev. Paul R. Harris

Trinity Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas

02 February 2023 A.D.