Dear Death

        Death no longer has dominion. 
 —Romans 6.9

Ah, Death, poor Death, we respect you
and the empire you have established;
we honor your wide jurisdictions
and observe your feasts and seasons.
But we don’t belong to you.
We don’t believe in you.

We don’t fear you or your armies
and their horrible weapons, their wars,
their plagues and pandemics.
For Jesus, bearing our souls,
has walked through you like smoke
and out the other side.
Our Christ, in love, has taken you in chains.

With him we have already died —
we have already died—and been raised,
and passed beyond your power.
Come early as you may, you are too late for us!
Our funerals are acts of happy sedition
in your sad, decaying empire:
for every funeral we hold, dear Death, is yours.
We live not under your sway, but life’s,
and love’s eternal breadth
crammed into this brief span.

We mean no disrespect
when we sing joyous songs at your wake,
when we dance on your grave,
our precious, departed Death.
We tell you plainly our power:
in love, poured out in us,
we are free even in your pallid grip
to love, to sing, to rejoice.
Ah, Death, dear Death, come take our hands
and join the dance of life.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

April 13, 2020

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