Saturday, December 12, 2009

Donne and Done

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,

Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

This is one of my favorite poems, called “Death Be Not Proud.” It was written by John Donne, one of Britain's most famous priests and poets. Now, I love poetry, but I don’t want to pretend like I understand it all the time, especially Donne. But I think this poem, after you read it a few times, reveals a lot of God’s truth.

Donne is acknowledging that God has defeated death, just as it says in 2 Timothy that Christ has “destroyed death.” Therefore, its threat has been removed and we no longer need to fear it, for it “shall be no more” and we will “wake eternally.”

Have you ever thought about what will happen to you when you die? Many of us do see death as an enemy, as something to fear, something that threatens us, something “mighty and dreadfull.” But God did not intend for us to die.

At this time of year, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who was God’s gift to humanity: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) And how do we receive that gift of eternal life? The Bible says in Romans 10:9 that “if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’”

Wow…when was the last time you thought about the gift of everlasting life? When was the last time you were excited about it? I won’t ever be able to completely comprehend what everlasting life means! But as we celebrate Christmas this month, this poem reminds me of one of the many reasons I can celebrate! We can face death with peace, knowing that through it, God will bring to himself those who believe in him...Paul knew this when he wrote, “...to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) That’s definitely reason to rejoice!

Donne was right. Death has died, and eternal life can be ours…

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. John 6:47

2 comments:

Trent Andreas said...

To die would be an awfully big adventure.

Joshua said...

awesome ... great minds ... and, you know, thinking a like and ... well we're awesome is what I'm trying to say here.