Scripture

Psalm 68:1-10

1 May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;

    may his foes flee before him.

2 May you blow them away like smoke—

    as wax melts before the fire,

    may the wicked perish before God.

3 But may the righteous be glad

    and rejoice before God;

    may they be happy and joyful.

4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,

    extol him who rides on the clouds;

    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.

5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,

    is God in his holy dwelling.

6 God sets the lonely in families,

    he leads out the prisoners with singing;

    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

7 When you, God, went out before your people,

    when you marched through the wilderness,

8 the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain,

    before God, the One of Sinai,

    before God, the God of Israel.

9 You gave abundant showers, O God;

    you refreshed your weary inheritance.

10 Your people settled in it,

    and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.



Reflection

May God arise. May God arise (verse 1). Scripture fulfilled when the stone in the garden was told to move by its Maker. Death has been put to death. “They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’’ Then they remembered his words” (Luke 24:2-8). 

Last week, I cried for the first time since Max was born. My dad sent me pictures of Mamaw and Papaw. He finally got to visit them long-distance. Since the pandemic began, they’ve been isolated in their assisted living facility for their protection as both are 80+ years old with many underlying health issues. Both Mamaw and Papaw’s eyes were closed and their heads fell because they were fast asleep. Dad said they were unaware of what was going on the whole time he visited with them. Papaw’s dementia is pretty bad at this point and Mamaw’s mental faculties aren’t much better. It was clear by the pictures that their time on earth is short. My dad said he too wept when he saw the pictures. Joyful tears for the blessing of their lives. Sad tears that the finish line is near. Happy tears knowing the reward in store for them. Papaw is still a giant. Mamaw still loves her grandkids and talks to their picture. They would both hug our necks if they could. My tears for them are not at all filtered through despair or the magnitude of death. Death doesn’t exist for the servants of Christ. Death has no power over them. Jesus decided what should happen to death on Calvary and he finished the job. My tears are from the same stream of heaven’s glory that flows around the throne of God. I am forever grateful and full of joy for the gift of their lives. Are any of your loved ones near the end of their race? Is there anything unresolved between you? In what ways are their lives a perpetual blessing?     

“Christ is risen from the dead,

trampling down death by death,

and on those in the tombs bestowing

life!” (Paschal troparion) 

Prayer

“O God, who gave us birth,

you are ever more ready to hear

than we are to pray.

You know our needs before we ask,

and our ignorance in asking.

Give to us now your grace,

that as we shrink before the mystery of death,

we may see the light of eternity.

Speak to us once more

your solemn message of life and of death.

Help us to live as those who are prepared to die.

And when our days here are accomplished,

enable us to die as those who go forth to live,

so that living or dying, our life may be in you,

and that nothing in life or in death will be able to separate us

from your great love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.”