Thanatopsis

  Yet a few days, and thee   

The all-beholding sun shall see no more   

In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,   

Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,   

Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist   

Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim   

Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,

And, lost each human trace, surrendering up   

Thine individual being, shalt thou go   

To mix for ever with the elements,   

To be a brother to the insensible rock 

(From the poem Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant)

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.                                                                                                                                                                                 John 12:24

I am not trying to be a real downer here today, because discussion of death need not be. We don’t like to think about it, of course, but, of course, it will happen. I started thinking about this poem because I am sitting out on my patio on a completely gorgeous morning looking at a spectacular crabapple tree that I planted on the day that I buried our beloved family dog, Maggie. I decided to plant a tree right next to her, because this would be a way that she could, in a way, continue to live. Her remains nourished that tree (obviously named the “Maggie Tree”), and today it remains lush and life-giving itself.

The flowers of that tree give beauty to the back yard, and the leaves give shade to the Hostas- you know, they sort of like shade. The branches provide homes for numerous birds, and I cannot tell you how many nests have been there over the years.

William Cullen Bryant stated in the poem that…

  Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim   

Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,

And, lost each human trace, surrendering up   

Thine individual being, shalt thou go   

To mix for ever with the elements,   

    So it is in the circle of life. Death gives rise to new life- a perfect circle. The Bible speaks beautifully about this in many passages. The plan of creation and continuation of the life-cycle follow the laws of physics. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only altered in form. Matter and energy can go from one form to another, but it is never destroyed. Wow, what an amazing Creator!

Prayer: Lord we are awed by your plans for us and your creation, Amen

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