Not a Eulogy

(A Eucatastrophe)

*

Love the words, my friends.

Pay attention to the words, I say.

Christians don’t die

One reason we know this is Jesus said it.

In John’s account he told Michael:

“You shall never taste or see death”
(Indeed, as the Psalmist says, “taste and see that the Lord is good.”)

Another reason we know this is St. Paul said it.

In Colossians he told Michael:

“You are dead and your life is hid with God in Christ.”
(Indeed you have already died. You cannot die again.)

A third reason we know this is poetry said it.

In the sonnet John Donne tells Death:

“Death, be not proud, though some have called you mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.”
(Indeed Death, which has much to be humble about, is instead proud.)

Have you ever heard someone trash-talk on the Grim Reaper? Listen to this:

“Those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow / Die not, poor death.”
(Indeed “from rest and sleep which but they pictures be, much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow.”)

No reason for pride and puffery, friend Death, for

“Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, and dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell.”
(Indeed Death, the quisling, does keep the worst company don’t he?)

Besides …

“poppy or charms can make us sleep as well, and better than they stroke—why swell’st thou then?”
(Indeed this death thing is not difficult. Whence cometh then all his smack-talk about it?)

Christians don’t die.

“Soonest our best men with thee do go, rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.”
(Indeed blessed rest. We could all use a little more sleep, eh?)

A short sleep (must it be short?) and … ba-da-bing! … we see and taste this from Corinthians—

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory, O grave, where is thy sting?”
(Indeed Christians don’t die. We win.)

And yet …

*

And yet.

We do.

John’s Gospel again—

“Except a corn of wheat fall into the earth and die it remains alone. But if it dies it bears much fruit.”

With some time-limited exceptions, on earth alone is the worst thing that can happen to us.

Unless we die we end up alone.

With no exception whatsoever, outside earth alone is the worst thing that can happen to us.

Unless we die we end up alone.

Forever.

If we die we bear much fruit.

I.e., not alone, also forever.

*

Michael died.

That was a long time ago.

This thing that happened just now?

For our purposes that’s called rearranging one’s affairs.

For his purposes I’m not sure it has a name. I’m not sure he noticed.

Not right off anyway. He fell asleep—Jesus’ words again—and then woke up.

We call that “rising” and that’s what happened that day and one day he will do it again.

He woke up, got up, and went up.

Looked around and about.

Could taste, see again.

That’s how it works.

It’s what it means.

What it is.

How it works and what it means and what it is for us, now, is to do this, today.

To think and feel and talk and remember—to taste and see as best as we can.

But that’s only for now.

Christians don’t die.

Already did that.

Now we live.

As he does.

As He does.

 

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