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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love is come again!

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love Whom we had slain,
Thinking that He’d never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Up He sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Wheat Seedlings

I love this hymn. I love the music but the words really speak to me. The last verse is amazing. God’s touch can heal us and bring our hearts back to life. The love of God is incredible!

Thank you God for your amazing love! AMEN!

Into the flame

We are always on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things.                      Henry Ward Beecher

We weren’t promised a rose garden. We were promised that God would never leave us. Having a life free of problems may not be the thing that make us beautiful in God’s eyes. The Bible reminds us that pottery is put into the flame to make it beautiful. In times of trial turn to God and come out of the trial refined by him.

flamed pottery

Ever present God, go with us into the flame and bring us out more beautiful for you. AMEN

Silence

When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing – just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park? Ralph Marston

silence 2

We are so busy all the time. Our life is spent with electronics. Phones, computers, etc. How often do we sit in silence and do absolutely nothing. God says “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Take the time to be silent.

Patient God, you wait for us to sit in silence and wait for you and yet we seldom slow down. Help us to seek you in silence. AMEN

Music is well said to be the speech of angels. Thomas Carlyle

angels singingI love music. Hymns and songs of praise can take me away from the world. Music can move me to tears and bare my soul. St Francis says that those who sing pray twice. Pay attention to the words of hymns. They tell a story of God. Sing praises to him!

Giving Lord, thank you for the gift of music. Remind us let the words of the hymns enter our hearts. AMEN

Live in the NOW

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.                                                     Omar Khayyam

presenceWe spend way too much time in the past or the future.  This moment is all there is. Do everything each day in the presence of God. If you are washing dishes dedicate that task to God. If you are in the garden see God’s beauty. There is a wonderful old book called “Practicing the Presence of God – by Brother Lawrence.” He spends every moment with God. Don’t dwell in the past or the future. Spend each moment in the now with God.

Holy God, you are ever present with us. Help us to see you in everything that we do. AMEN