Happy Halloween! Let’s talk death

by Kevin Birnbaum

The Resurrection of Christ by Raphael (1483-1520)

Death is terrible. Death is scary. Death is an enemy (see 1 Cor 15:26).

But because Christ has been raised from the dead, death’s days are numbered, its defeat certain. Because Christ has been raised from the dead, death does not have the last word, death is not the end.

Because Christ has been raised from the dead, there is hope.

The great English poet John Donne (1572-1631) knew this, and stuck it to death in his Holy Sonnet 10:

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.