This morning, with heart heavy at what from her many friends’ viewpoint appears to be a tragic and inexplicable death, I offer others’words as a reminder that indeed death has lost its sting, and a beloved woman is with her Lord now. And furthermore, the day will come when there will be no more death.
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
Oh, death, where is your victory?
Death has lost,it’s sting.” I Corinthians 15:55
“he will wipe very tear from their eyes, and death will be no more…” Rev. 21:5
“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.”
John Donne, Holy Sonnet 10
“Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of
humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one
can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without
overcoming this double exclusion — without transposing the enemy from the
sphere of the monstrous… into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from
the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When
one knows [as the cross demonstrates] that the torturer will not eternally
triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person’s humanity and
imitate God’s love for him. And when one knows [as the cross demonstrates]
that God’s love is greater than all sin, one is free to see oneself in the light of
God’s justice and so rediscover one’s own sinfulness.”
― Miroslav Volf
“The word ‘grace’ remains as part of our religious vocabulary, and we regularly hear it used in public prayer (‘grant us the help of thy grace…’, ‘give us grace that we may…’). But to many it suggests only vague notions of a celestial battery-charge administered through the sacraments, while to more (one fears) it signifies nothing whatsoever. And meantime many practice in the name of Christianity forms of religion which frustrate and deny the grace of God completely. Both the legalism of the Roman Catholic doctrine of depending for salvation on loyalty to an ecclesiastical system, and the moralism of liberal Protestant doctrine that all will be saved who try, even a little, to be good, spring from the same root cause – failure to grasp the meaning of grace. No need in Christendom is more urgent than the need for a renewed awareness of what the grace of God really is.”
we should note, the threat of heavy oaks falling on house and roads leans in with even a tropical storm
With Hurricane (?) Isaac headed toward our beloved Gulf Coast and hatches all battened – whatever that really means!), it’s impossible (despite the lovely current weather) to remain fully focused on my work at hand, so I browsed through some previous hurricane posts. I re-run this one, thinking of how quiet the house is on this day of school cancellation, the others elsewhere now, and the one child left home, 17, fully occupied with college application endeavors of all sorts. But I run this again for all of you moms who deal with daily disruptions in your agendas, both distempering and disheartening. May we all see the glory of God working in our hearts in his cosmic plan-busters!
“Blow winds blow! and crack your cheeks!
RAGE! blow! You cataracts and hurricanos, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, the clocks….
Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once
THAT MAKES INGRATEFUL MAN.” (King Lear, Act 3)
This line from Lear swirled in my head as I began today. Not much time to blog , because the wind is blowing trouble our way. When I heard last night that school had been cancelled for the next two days because of a hurricane that lay some 1000 miles south of us and couldn’t possibly turn into one of the “Big Girls,” I’ll admit — I was just annoyed. I took it as a personal affront to my schedule.
I’ve got lots of work to do this week, God, I pointed out, and now my kids will be home, distracting me. (Yes, I was ignoring the fact that my two teenagers at home are respectful and will not disrupt me while I work! I just wanted the house to myself.) I threw a small temper tantrum in the kitchen, railing against the school gods who make decisions like these, until my 14 year old, in his understated manner, spoke a few gentle words of reprobation, “If I could do anything about it, Mom…” Ouch. It hurt to see how my little fit was raining on his teenage parade of freedom.
And it shut me up. Sent me to the best place to go, my Bible. I discovered Psalm 31, and one verse seemed to say it all: “You have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.” (8) Indeed, with the news of a November hurricane, I was feeling a little pinched. My style was a little cramped. And somehow this verse called me to see that we have lots of ‘wiggle room’ with God. He is good, even in the disruptions he brings. And I began to thank God — that this is a small hurricane, likely a tropical storm by the time it reaches us (we’ve been through big ones), that we live on high ground (and I prayed for all those who do not), that my strong children will be home to help move all the deck furniture inside.
Indeed, “you cataracts and hurricanos spout!” And Jim Cantore, come on down! (If you’re not already on Pensacola Beach:)
Going through some files, I found this precious paragraph from Nathan Bierma’s book Bringing Heaven Down to Earth…What a challenge to me to think about what the contours of my day might look like:
“As contemporary life grows more and more chaotic and frenzied in a society that devotes too much time and energy to work and transportation and not enough to peaceful rest, quiet, contemplation, and patient, relaxed fellowship we need to follow the model of Christ – who had a mere three years to change the world and yet repeatedly retreated to nap on a fishing boat while crowds clamored for more of his time. Rest, he seemed to suggest, will be an integral part of life on the new earth…
Christ-like rest cuts us down to size a and allows us to practice patience for God to bring about the new earth. It might, after all, take some time.”