Daily D – 2 Chronicles 35:25
2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)
There is perhaps a better question than “What do you want people to say at your funeral?” It is the question, “What will people sing about you when you are gone?”
Will you live a life worthy of a song? If so, will a blues guitar and a muted trumpet explore the depths of the darkness of your passing?
Will a jazz combo with piano, saxophone, trap set, and stand-up bass express their individual and collective expressions of loss?
Will a sunny singer of happy songs lift lovely sentiments with crystal clarity and incomparable beauty?
Will a hymn tell the tale of grace and life and endless joy?
A speaker at the Global Leadership Summit yesterday talked about writing your personal obituary. Stephen Covey and others have written about this. Covey in particular talks about beginning with the end in mind. The lifeplanning toolkits our staff uses include this idea. Even a frozen pizza company famously asked, “What do you want on your Tombstone?”
What is your funeral song?
One of the most beautiful masterpieces in the history of music is Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. It is, according to Wikipedia, “the setting for Barber’s 1967 choral arrangement of Agnus Dei,” which our good friend Gerry Lewis reminded us yesterday is the Latin title for Lamb of God.
This is the music I imagine playing as life ebbs away, the curtain is parted, and glorification ensues. It accompanies the transition from earth to heaven into the very presence of the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The crescendo declares the moment of meeting. The decrescendo resolves into Agnus Dei and one final Welcome Home and uninterrupted, unhindered, unveiled worship and rest.
Philosophers, poets, and kings throughout history have directed us to ponder the day of our death and to live in the anticipation of it. That day comes when the bells will toll. Let us live so wonderfully well, so full of grace and truth, so beautifully maximized that more than words written and repeated, songs will be sung. Generations to come will learn what a good life looks like, sounds like, feels like.
I will live a life worthy of song.
Our Father, baptize me in grace today that I may drip mercy on all I encounter. Refresh my soul that I may refresh others. Express yourself through my thoughts, my words, my actions. Put a song in my heart to echo through the remainder of time and the surety of eternity. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“