Monday, November 30, 2009

with our brother Josias in your kingdom

My Prayer

We gather today in a spirit of thanksgiving for God’s glory shown in our brother Josias Sterling during his brief life, a happy life, a life in which a young man fulfilled the hopes and promises suited to his age. We thank God that Josias was a grace for his parents and siblings, for his relatives and friends. We are grateful that God saw fit for Josias to attend St. Joseph’s Prep and Temple University.

The emptiness in our hearts caused be his absence reveals to us how eagerly we made a space for him, and tells us how prominent a place he took in his family , among his classmates, on the rugby team, and in the hearts of all who got to know him. His relationship with us is God’s work, letting us know in Josias more about the richness of creation.

So we pray. Dear God, let the memory of this happy young man lift from us the gloom we experience in his physical absence. Help us know that his cheerful, resolute spirit continues to enliven us whenever we who know him gather together. May his spirit help us build on the heroic desires of his own life, help us be men and women for others just as Josias became more each day a man for others.

Yes, Good God, Increase our faith in the saving power of the Lord Jesus who welcomes those who have died into a new heaven and a new earth. When our day comes, give us a place in the new creation so that we may be with our brother Josias in your kingdom. But today on this field, dear God, help us to know that Josias joins us and commits his spirit to bring joy and enthusiasm to our company and our competition.

We ask these things through Christ our Lord.

The Spirit blows where it will, the blog of George Bur, SJ

A rugby team tenderly remembers one of its own Philadelphia Inquirer
By Kristen A. Graham

Inquirer Staff Writer

Because they were Josias Sterling's friends, they formed a line and slung their arms around each others' shoulders. Some shivered in the bitter breeze.
They were the members of 428 West, a rugby team from the St. Joseph's Prep Class of 2008. They share inside jokes, stories about tournament weekends, and a deep sense of loss.

In July, player No. 8 - Josias A. Sterling, 19, a boisterous, happy Temple University sophomore - died in Ocean City, N.J., when a powerful rip current pulled him out to sea. He had been standing in knee-deep water tossing a football with Ryan Gregory, a teammate and best friend.

Yesterday, the friends gathered for the Josias A. Sterling Memorial Apple Pie Sevens Rugby Tournament. Bill Gregory, Ryan Gregory's father and Sterling's coach at the Prep, addressed the more than 250 people who stood on the playing field in Fairmount Park.

"Today, we're going to celebrate his life, have a happy day, and smash each other in the face," Bill Gregory said, earning smiles and cheers from the crowd of rugby players and enthusiasts.

The tournament's name is a nod to Sterling's favorite dessert, which he was famous for downing on road trips. The trophies awarded to yesterday's winners - a college division made up of a Temple team of current players and alumni, and a high school division, West Shore United - featured an apple and a picture of pie.

"There's not a diner in the tri-state area that we haven't hit and he cleaned out of apple pie," said Bill Gregory, now the coach of the University of Scranton's rugby team. "We'd joke, 'We're coming. Get the apple pies ready.' "

The name given to the gathering was silly, but the emotions were genuine. Before the first match, 428 West - named for the address of a Shore house the young men shared the summer before they all left for college - stood on the sidelines and talked about their missing brother.

"He was a goofball," said Nolan Grady, laughing.

"He was loud, energetic, always ran hard, never gave up on anything," said Tyler Dewechter.

Sterling was a chicken-legged rascal, the young men added. And his arms? Always in constant motion, windmills blocking his opponents.

He laughed often. No one ever saw him angry, and his happiness wasn't an in-your-face kind of thing. Sterling was just at peace with who he was, they said.

(click title for the entire article from the Philadelphia Inquirer)

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