April 29, 2016
For the past few weeks, I have been confronted by death: diligent parishioners sitting with me to document their funeral arrangements with the church, the death of beloved parishioners with whom I had formed relationships, grieving families who needed answers and comfort at the death of a loved one, and more personally, attending and participating in the funeral services of two of my own family members. All these losses and impending losses have been difficult and yet, as a Christian, the Good News of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ is that death is NOT the end! Eternal life has been granted to all of humanity because of our Savior’s sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. So why can’t we, like those in Van Dyke’s poem, look with faith to that other shore where the saints wait to welcome us home to be with our Lord?
I am Standing upon the Seashore
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…
Death comes in its own time, in its own way.
Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.
Henry Van Dyke