Allen Lee Pace
The Worship of God
The Memorial Service for Allen Pace
Providence Baptist Church, Hendersonville NC
March 4, 2023
Preservice: “How Great Thou Art”
Hendersonville Honor Guard Presentation
“It Is Well with My Soul”
Scripture Psalm 103 and Prayer Moody
Choir and Congregation: “Amazing Grace”
Eulogy for Allen Pace Moody
Scripture and Prayer Mynatt
Music “Shall We Gather” Sebastian
March Mynatt “In the Bulb”
Welcome: Dr. Dwight A. Moody
Grace and peace to you. I am Dr. Dwight A. Moody, the pastor of Providence Baptist Church. With me are Rev. Marcy Mynatt, our associate pastor, and Mr. Michael Sebastian, our musician. We are honored to welcome you to this sanctuary and to lead this service of worship honoring the life of Allen Lee Pace. Thank you for being here today to worship God, to remember Allen, to comfort and support the family, and to affirm our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified for our salvation and raised from the dead as our eternal hope. God bless you all today.
I read today from Psalm 103.
Let us pray: Good and gracious God, maker of heaven and earth, friend of sinners and savior of the world, and a present help in a time of trouble—we worship you today. We thank you for this place of refuge, for these people who love you and loved Allen Pace, for these scriptures and prayers, and songs: may all of it comfort us in our grief and encourage us in our doubt. We receive from you today what we need to hear and feel that we might be the people you want us to be. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Eulogy: Dr. Dwight A. Moody
The Bible commands that we give honor to whom honor is due; and today we gather to honor the life of Allen Lee Pace. Allen was born on June 23, 1963, to parents Carl Dudley and Betty Jean Pace. They were from Hendersonville, but the birth happened in Germany, while his father, also a veteran, was stationed there. Perhaps this was a sign of all the places he would go in his life.
Allen was a graduate of East Hendersonville High School and Clemson University. He attended college on an ROTC scholarship and graduated with a degree in engineering. Soon, he enlisted in the United States Army. In his six years, he trained at Ft Belvoir in Virginia and Ft. Benning in Georgia. His service took him to Korea, Germany, Costa Rica, and the Persian Gulf, as well as California and Louisiana. That means North America, Central America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. What a way to see the world and the country.
This fine young man, with education and military service behind him, returned to his home town and his family business, the Pace Heat and Plumbing of Hendersonville. In a piece he wrote for the church newsletter almost 12 years ago, he remembers, “I did everything from digging ditches, unstopping sewers, estimating and managing major construction projects and even some accounting.”
It must have been a daily pride for him and his parents to drive around town and see the buildings that he helped build, including structures at Hendersonville High school, Pardee Hospital, the Outpatient Surgery Center and the County Human Services Building. We thank him today again for these contributions to our community.
Allen grew up in Shaws Creek Baptist Church. He writes, “I grew up in a small country church, made a profession of faith, and was baptized soon after Vacation Bible School one summer. I sang in the choir beginning in my teenage years and served on just about every committee there was at some point in time.” That could be the testimony of some of you as well!
He joined up with Providence, he remembers, at the invitation of Robert and Annette. He writes, “I think their marathon dating and courtship may have begun around that time.” There’s a story I want to know more about! But Robert and Annette were leading the music here at Providence, and Allen sang base, and who doesn’t need a good base singer in the choir. I was welcomed, he writes, “warmly with words, kind gestures, and opportunities to serve in a church that cares about what happens within and beyond its walls.”
Allen fit neatly into the culture and community here at Providence and during my very short tenure here, people have mentioned his name many, many times and described his dedication to the congregation and our campus. Thank God, for Allen Lee Pace, and thank you, all of you, who helped shape his values and his character. You done good, and so did he.
So today, we honor him as a soldier, as an engineer, as a community servant, as a Christian man, as a friend to many. Thank God for the life and service of Allen Lee Pace. Thank you for being here today to honor him.
The Sermon: Dr. Dwight A. Moody
Grace and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have already heard the familiar music of Amazing Grace and Shall We Gather at the River. These are old gospel hymns. In a few minutes, Rev. Mynatt is coming to sing a new hymn. It is titled “In the Bulb.” In the bulb there is a flower, in the seed, an apple tree.” These are images from the agrarian world, called to duty to celebrate the life of a man from the world of machines, and tools, and buildings. But it speaks a word to all of us, “In our end is our beginning, in time, infinity. In our doubt is believing, in our life, eternity. In our death a resurrection, at the last a victory.”
Natalie Sleeth wrote these words and composed the music you will hear shortly. Mere weeks later, her husband Ronald was diagnosed with cancer and died quickly. He was only 63 years old. He was a distinguished professor of preaching at the Methodist seminary in Denver.
That was 1985. Seven years later, at the age of 61, Natalie herself died of cancer. This song was composed before she knew of the untimely death of her husband. Shortly after it was published, she herself died. This song is her gift to you and me. It reminds us that even great and creative people die early, too young, before their talents and energies are exhausted.
I think about that as I remember you son and brother, our friend and believer Allen Lee Pace. He was smart and talented but died too young, before his time. Natalie Sleeth left behind a hymn to inspire us in a time of grief, to express our faith as believers in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. In a similar way, Allen Pace left behind a legacy of energy, imagination, and construction.
What kind of legacy will be noted when some preacher stands to commemorate your life? What memories, what achievements, what gifts of grace will people describe when you are laid to rest?
Jesus left behind a legacy. Every day and week, we read the stories of his life: his kindness to those ignored by others, his brilliance in explaining the Bible and the will of God, his courage in the face of opposition, and his confidence when facing death. Jesus also died too early, too young. But he was willing to die as an act of faithfulness to God’s will for his life.
Jesus died for you, in your place, on your behalf. Jesus died as a person, just like you. He died with hope in God. He died believing that God would redeem him and raise him from the dead. Jesus died just like you, trusting God for eternity.
On the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead. Paul the great teacher and apostle wrote this: “Jesus appeared to Simon Peter, and then to the Twelve Apostles. After that, Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all Jesus appeared to me also….”
A short time later, as the Christian movement gathered steam, one of the early deacons was stoned to death. As he was dying, this is what he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man, that is Jesus, standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” As he was dying, Stephen had a vision. He saw something. He saw a person. He saw Jesus in heaven.
Just this week, I listened to a talk given by a hospice chaplain. She said this, “As people are dying, they often see people. People they love, people they know. We who work in hospice are very familiar with this. Sometimes they call them by name.”
I might add. As a pastor, I have had more than one person describe to me scenes like this. “When my mother was dying,” one person might say, “She told me not to sit in the chair by her bed because an angel was sitting in it.” Others testify like this: “Last night my brother visited me. He died two months ago. But he came to see me. I saw him and heard him.”
You might have such a testimony. Allen Pace might have such a testimony. He may have said something like that. Do not be surprised. Receive it as God’s gift to you. Receive it as a source of strength and encouragement.
All of this is mystery. Yesterday, at the cemetery chapel, after the military guard presented the flag to Allen’s dad, Dudley, I read the words of the Bible which begin, “I tell you a mystery.” It then describes the resurrection. Yes, all of this is a mystery. Some things we know. Some things we believe. All things are mysterious.
Yesterday, as I was driving up the mountain from my home near Greenville on my way to the cemetery in Black Mountain, it was foggy. Very foggy. I called my wife and said, “The visibility is, at best, 300 feet.” You can’t see very far ahead in a dense fog. You can see a short distance, but beyond that, it is shrouded, hidden. That is the way it is with our dying. We can see a short way into the future. We see Jesus, risen from the dead. Sometimes we see others who are dear to us. But often the future life is shrouded in a holy fog. We must trust God. We must follow Jesus. We must live in hope and die in hope.
There are signs all around, long before we are on our death bed, that something awaits us beyond this life. C. S. Lewis put it this way in his marvelous book, Mere Christianity, “This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there’s a rumor going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life.”
All we have are metaphors and images: from the world of plants and animals, from the world of buildings and machines, from the world of the artist. All of these undergird and strengthen the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ who said when he knew he was about to die, “If I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to be with me, so that you may be where I am.”
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood, that is, his death, and his righteousness. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.” That illustration is taken from nature, one that an engineer like Allen would understand. Because it takes engineers like Allen to figure out how to navigate in sinking sand. And he will do it with his knowledge and his faith. Thanks be to God.