Friday, May 14, 2010

Death... and the Far Country

All it takes is the untimely death of someone you know to make you realize that actually, you're not as invincible as you thought, nor your lives as much in control as you would like. Not one of us knows how long or short we have left...quite sobering if you start to dwell on that....and the fact that we so quickly and so easily fall back into the pattern of taking each other for granted.

Funeral Blues
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Know what else struck me about these last few days – is how the system of the world (my personal bent and soap box, so much more to come!) has made me fear death. Questions about life insurance, funeral cover etc. Modern day Christians have lost the ability to look forward to death - I think because largely we have become so comfortable in this life, and a relationship – a true, living one with God is actually foreign to us (if we're honest). All the old hymns, the old notions of looking forward to our passing into the next world, the notion we are just passing through, that we are transient people....all of that has been lost. We spend our lives trying to make this life better, to make this life work.

Last year someone we know passed away, and her death was a celebration - it was the oddest experience. The was such a deep rooted assurance that her time had come, that her life had been lived to his glory that people at her funeral just celebrated her. Certainly rocked my world.

I want to live outside the realms of this world's philosophies...and live my life according to a different drumbeat.

The Far Country
(one of my favourite songs)

Father Abraham
Do you remember when
You were called to a land
And didn’t know the way

‘Cause we are wandering
In a foreign land
We are children of the
Promise of the faith

And I long to find it
Can you feel it, too?
That the sun that’s shining
Is a shadow of the truth

This is a far country, a far country
Not my home

In the dark of the night
I can feel the shadows all around me
Cold shadows in the corners of my heart

But the heart of the fight
Is not in the flesh but in the spirit
And the spirit’s got me shaking in the dark

And I long to go there
I can feel the truth
I can hear the promise
Of the angels of the moon

This is a far country, a far country
Not my home

I can see in the strip malls and the phone calls
The flaming swords of Eden
In the fast cash and the news flash
And the horn blast of war
In the sin-fraught cities of the dying and the dead
Like steel-wrought graveyards where the wicked never rest
To the high and lonely mountain in the groaning wilderness
We ache for what is lost
As we wait for the holy God
Of Father Abraham

I was made to go there
Out of this far country
To my home, to my home

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