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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Daily D – Psalm 143:8-10
Psalm 143:8-10 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Daily D – Psalm 142:5
Psalm 142:5 Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”
Daily D – Ezra 3:11-13
Ezra 3:11-13 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 35:22-25
2 Chronicles 35:22-25 After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message: “What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo. But the enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him. He cried out to his men, “Take me from the battle, for I am badly wounded!”
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 32:31
2 Chronicles 32:31 However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.