Many years ago, I came across this poem written by Cannon Henry Scott Holland.
“Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”
Saying that death is nothing at all didn’t really jell. The death of a loved one is a very great deal nothing can seem to reflect the void that is left, nothing can seem to stop the aching and longing to talk to somebody who is no longer there. Nothing feels as if it can touch the pain and the emptiness God made us so that we can have relationships, he gives us the joy of human love as a gift. It is when that bond is broken by death that we feel the pain .But the poem actually underlines the Christian hope and belief, that death is not the end that in Christ we have eternal life.
The words from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians give us that hope comfort, and peace. The Christians at Corinth had asked a question about the kind of resurrection body that anyone would have. The question was a foolish one. The word ‘body’ describes many different kinds of bodies. The human body is suitable to live on earth. A fish has a body that is suitable to live in water. The bird’s body is right to live in the air. The sun, moon and stars are all different in the splendid light that they give out. So, God will give each Christian a risen body that is suitable to live in heaven so we need to look beyond the bounds of this temporal life for Christ reassures us that all is well
The day after my mother’s funeral, we travelled to Whitby. There is a point along the road from Pickering that the whole of the moors opens up to you at the Hole of Holcombe. On that day, it was shrouded in a thick sea mist and the beauty could not be seen. But I knew that under the mist the beauty was still there, and all would be clear again.
Under the mist of grief, it is hard to see the beauty that is still in life, it can be hard to remember the beauty in the love between you and the person you have lost. But you haven’t lost that love; it is still there, in your hearts. Your memories will never be taken away from you and through Christ that mist will be lifted.
If we look to the words in Corinthians, let us be assured that our loved ones rest with him, He transforms our earthly bodies to be spiritual; bodies, to be part of his kingdom, and through him there is unbroken continuity through the life that is offered through Jesus Christ. We are all children of God, on earth and in heaven. Amen