Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 9/21

Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 9/21


Some friends are grieving this morning and Henry Van Dyke’s poem on death, a piece I’ve posted a number of times over the years, comes to mind. Though he was a preacher, the poet’s imagery here is more nautical than religious – but his verse speaks beautifully of how we Christians understand dying – and the life that awaits us…
I am standing upon the seashore. 
A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze 
and starts for the blue ocean. 
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, 
she hangs like a speck of white cloud 
just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, 

    « There, she is gone »

Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all. 

She is just as large in mast, hull and spar 
as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight 
to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, 
    « There, she is gone, »
there are other eyes watching her coming, 
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, 
    « Here she comes! »

And that is dying…