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
(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--
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
“What the mind doesn’t understand, it worships or fears.” ~Alice Walker
I stole this quote from another blogger. It is so true. We certainly can’t begin to understand God so it seems we have a choice. The Bible talks about both but when it tells us to fear God it usually means “awe” instead of fear. We certainly are called to worship him, praise him and give him thanks for the grace he has shown us. And yes, we should definitely be in awe of him.
Awesome God, you are more than we can ever grasp. Help us to worship, praise and thank you. AMEN
God never promised that life would be free of problems. There is no magic wand that can be waved to banish our troubles. Our strength to survive each day comes from God’s promise to be with us. Each struggle that we get through gives us the wisdom to survive the next. God helps us to learn and gain the strength to fight the next battle.
Intimate God, we give you thanks for your love for us and your healing presence in our struggles. AMEN
Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair. ———— G.K. Chestertson
We are told to love the Lord our God with all our souls and all our hearts and all our minds. We are not told to prove that God exists. We are just told to love Him. Can we let go of all our trying to understand all of this and just love?
God of love, help us learn to just love you with all that we are. AMEN
…when you pray, you are not starting the conversation from scratch, just remembering to plug back into a conversation that’s always in progress. —–Anne Lamott
God is always with us. God is always aware of us. When we choose to stop and enter into prayer with God it is nothing new to Him. He has been waiting for us to continue the conversation and may be hopeful that we might even listen for Him to speak.
Infinite God, thank you for always being with us. Help us to stop, look, and listen for you. AMEN
Faith is not the acceptance of centuries-old traditions but an attitude which grows from within. —Henri Nouwen
We need to learn about our traditions. The stories of those who have gone before us and struggled with the same questions are important. But that is not all we need. We have to take the next step and spend time with God to let Him infuse the soul. Time with God is critical to our growth and faith.
Intimate God, you are with us always. Help us to stop and just BE with you. AMEN
Teach us to give and not count the cost. Ignatius Loyola
Each day we have time to give. This morning I was in a cafe. A woman came in and seemed a little lost. She ordered her coffee and sat down alone. She turned and look at me and I gave her a big smile. She smiled back and seemed to relax in her chair. I gave nothing that I couldn’t do without. I don’t really know if she needed that smile but I gave it anyway. It made me feel good.
We don’t always have to think about giving away costly things. We can give a smile, a helping hand, a kind word. We can afford to do this every day.
Lord, remind us to give of ourselves every day. AMEN
Matthew 1:23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
With the birth of Jesus the journey begins. We will follow Him through his life, ministry, betrayal, death and resurrection. His life gives us a path to follow.
Loving Jesus, thank you for your life and ministry. Help us to follow your path and change the world. AMEN
The birth of Christ begins the journey. We will follow Him through His life and ministry. We will see Him loving all mankind, betrayed, executed and resurrected. His life is our guide book for living.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your life and ministry. Help us to follow your path and change the world. AMEN
God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open. Hazrat Inayat Khan quoted in “The Exquisite Risk by Mark Nepo
I don’t think God wants us to have pain and grief in our lives. but without it how can our hearts learn to be open? A closed heart seems to be sufficient unto itself. It doesn’t expect to be broken. When it is we are just like Humpty Dumpty. We are broken. But God can come in and mend the cracks and holes. Let Him in.
Loving God, you only want the best for us but sometimes we are crushed by grief and pain . Help us to turn to you in our loss and let your love mend our hearts. AMEN
Do we remember to ask God’s forgiveness for the wrong things that we do? Sometimes I think we just push them to the back of the mind and let it go. God will forgive us if we ask. Then there is the challenge of believing that we have, in fact, been forgiven.
Loving God, you are ready to forgive us. All we have to do is ask and then believe it. AMEN