“Death be not proud.”

“Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,”

– John Donne “Death Be Not Proud” (“Holy Sonnet X”)

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

– 1 Corinthians 15:55

Oh, but death does sting.

“Sting” is an understatement.

Some days, death rips into our souls with such shocking savagery that we can barely whisper, “Where, O death, is your sting.”

Some days, death is a cataract, dimming the victory of the cross.

“Death reveals that the world is not as it should be but that it stands in need of redemption.”

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

But, thank God for those moments of grace, glimpses of that unfathomable peace.

Thank God for those days when He gives us the strength to shout, “Where, O death, is your sting?”.

Thank God for the days when even death can point us to the cross.

“And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.” – Donne

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“On Friday a thief”

Yesterday’s quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminded me of these lyrics from a song by John Mark McMillan. Below the video you’ll find a link to McMillan’s commentary on the song.

“On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke holding keys
To hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave.”

– excerpt from “Death in His Grave” by John Mark McMillan

You can read John Mark McMillan’s line-by-line commentary on this song at his blog.

The Heart of John Mark McMillan” is a 2010 article from Relevant Magazine

daffodils, poetry and napping nephews

The Daffodils, by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
The thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

When I first read this poem, I thrilled at Wordsworth’s characterization of “…that inward eye/Which is the bliss of solitude.” He puts it so well. I think that “inward eye” may also be “the bliss of”:

  • long quiet car rides,
  • the calm that settled on the house when my nephew fell asleep for his nap yesterday, and
  • a cup of coffee or hot tea in the morning.

Oh, and autumn… the whole, entire season of autumn.

(This poem is in the public domain.)