Go Down, Death (a poem/sermon)

After writing about death on my blog I decided to post the poem that I posted there. It is one of my favorites and I would love to go to God in this way. blog

Go Down, Death

James Weldon Johnson1871 – 1938

 (A Funeral Sermon)

Weep not, weep not,
She is not dead;
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.
Heart-broken husband--weep no more;
Grief-stricken son--weep no more;
Left-lonesome daughter --weep no more;
She only just gone home.

Day before yesterday morning,
God was looking down from his great, high heaven,
Looking down on all his children,
And his eye fell on Sister Caroline,
Tossing on her bed of pain.
And God’s big heart was touched with pity,
With the everlasting pity.

And God sat back on his throne,
And he commanded that tall, bright angel standing at his right hand:
Call me Death!
And that tall, bright angel cried in a voice
That broke like a clap of thunder:
Call Death!--Call Death!
And the echo sounded down the streets of heaven
Till it reached away back to that shadowy place,
Where Death waits with his pale, white horses.

And Death heard the summons,
And he leaped on his fastest horse,
Pale as a sheet in the moonlight.
Up the golden street Death galloped,
And the hooves of his horses struck fire from the gold,
But they didn’t make no sound.
Up Death rode to the Great White Throne,
And waited for God’s command.

And God said: Go down, Death, go down,
Go down to Savannah, Georgia,
Down in Yamacraw,
And find Sister Caroline.
She’s borne the burden and heat of the day,
She’s labored long in my vineyard,
And she’s tired--
She’s weary--
Go down, Death, and bring her to me.

And Death didn’t say a word,
But he loosed the reins on his pale, white horse,
And he clamped the spurs to his bloodless sides,
And out and down he rode,
Through heaven’s pearly gates,
Past suns and moons and stars;
on Death rode,
Leaving the lightning’s flash behind;
Straight down he came.

While we were watching round her bed,
She turned her eyes and looked away,
She saw what we couldn’t see;
She saw Old Death.  She saw Old Death
Coming like a falling star.
But Death didn’t frighten Sister Caroline;
He looked to her like a welcome friend.
And she whispered to us: I’m going home,
And she smiled and closed her eyes.

And Death took her up like a baby,
And she lay in his icy arms,
But she didn’t feel no chill.
And death began to ride again--
Up beyond the evening star,
Into the glittering light of glory,
On to the Great White Throne.
And there he laid Sister Caroline
On the loving breast of Jesus.

And Jesus took his own hand and wiped away her tears,
And he smoothed the furrows from her face,
And the angels sang a little song,
And Jesus rocked her in his arms,
And kept a-saying: Take your rest,
Take your rest.

Weep not--weep not,
She is not dead;
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.

From God’s Trombones by James Weldon Johnson. Copyright © 1927 The Viking Press, Inc., renewed 1955 by Grace Nail Johnson. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc.

Lord Jesus, let us find the faith to know you will be with us in our hour of death. AMEN

Can you see through “God Glasses?”

No miracle has ever taken place under conditions which science can accept.-—-Ernest Renen

I believe in miracles. I believe they can’t be explained. Science will try to find logical answers. Sometimes they find an explanation that suits them. I have mentioned before that Madeleine L’Engle says “a coincidence is a miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous.” I tend to see God in the coincidences that occur in my life. I try to see life through “God Glasses.” I try to see the wonderful things that happen and trust that they are miracles. Can you?

gods glasses

Amazing God, help us to see the miracles around us each day. AMEN 

Life is limited

Death gives life its fullest reality. ——————Anthony Dalla Villa, Eulogy for Andy Warhol, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, April 1,1987

jumping kid on the field

Death reminds us that our time in this life is limited. Knowing that there is an end pulls us to live each day to the fullest. God created life and a universe around us. Don’t forget to stop, look, and appreciate each moment.

Amazing God, you created everything. Help us to see that every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things can be idols

Why is life sped up so? Why are thing so terribly unbearably precious that you can’t enjoy them but can only wait breathless in dread of their going? ——Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I sometimes think that things have become more important than God. Things have become our idol. If we aren’t concerned about the things we have we are longing for the things we don’t have. TV is telling us every day that there is something else we must have.

pencils

We have to learn to enjoy what we have now. We have to appreciate the life we have and give thanks.

Giving God, you have given us so much. Help us to know that it is enough and be thankful. AMEN