2 Corinthians 5:6 – Now we look forward with confidence to our heavenly bodies, realizing that every moment we spend in these earthly bodies is time spent away from our eternal home in heaven with Jesus. (TLB)
Recently, I stood with a friend at the bedside as his beloved father struggled to die. For several days this man's family watched as he gasped for breath, unconscious of those waiting through those last hours with him. I could not help but think of the serenely beautiful music by the mighty, thoroughly Christian composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, "Komm Susser Tod", "Come, Sweet Death". I want it played at my funeral to remind everyone of the sweetness of the life to which those who believe in Jesus look forward as they set out on that great adventure.
I thought, too, of a solo sung often by the soloist in the church I attended as a young man:
- One sweetly solemn thought
Comes to me o'er and o'er:
Nearer to my home today am I
Than e'er I've been before.
- – Phoebe Cary
Each day of life brings us closer to our eternal home. I thought, too, of the many scenes recorded of the passing of great Christian heroes, such as John Wesley. Friends surrounded him, waiting for his last words, "The best of all is God is still with us!" Too often it seems we look on death as non-Christians do: as an ending, not a beginning. No one wants to go before God calls, but when He does, may we all rejoice at the sound of His voice and welcome the coming of sweet death.
Prayer: We bless You, Lord Jesus, for taking from our lives the fear of death and for giving us instead a radiant hope as we look forward to the place You have gone to prepare for us. Amen.