Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 4
Joyous Death

Psalm 119:25-28

ד Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust;
    preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
    that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.

The author of this Psalm and the writer of this little devotional book don't mess around.  It is only Day 4 and we are already speaking of death...When I first glanced at the Hebrew letter at the beginning of this section I swore I saw the word death, but I was wrong.  It was Daleth.  I really didn't want to read or write on a devotion about death but I took a deep breath and dug right in.

I did not find the doom and gloom I was expecting...what I found was beautiful prayers and poetry speaking of the angels and saints and Mary in heaven to waiting to to welcome and embrace us as we left our earthly life and arrived to be with God.   Everything was reassuring and not scary or bad or threatening. Everything spoke of joy and love and hope.  It is almost too hard to believe that the ancient Celt Christians had such a compassionate and loving perception of death.  Their lives were full of disease, famine, and war.  One would think that the idea of death would reflect the ultimate despair....

At the end of this wonderful devotion I found this prayer--the adult, but just as reassuring version of "Now I lay me down to sleep."

"Our Father
If we should die before we wake, then let us go to sleep in confidence that where we wake is not as important as the keeper of our slumber.  Blest be all those who have rubbed the earthly sleep out of their eyes to find their gaze was wrapped in a new light and a better world than that where we fell asleep.  They slept in the gray mist of the world that couldn't own them to wake in the golden haze of a city built foursquare.  Sleep-shield us Father, till we understand that while our sleep resembles death, our longing days are short and the thrumming of the right bell will one day be replaced by the blare of trumpets in the morning!

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