Death, Be Not Proud: A Reading of John Donne’s Holy Sonnet X

Posted on March 30, 2024
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“Death, be not proud,” also known as Holy Sonnet X, is John Donne’s great poem in mockery of Death. Composed in 1609, the poem was published posthumously in 1633. It is fitting that Donne got the final word, laughing at Death from his grave. The power of the poem is its reversal of our experience….

Burial at Sea on the Galilee

Posted on March 6, 2024
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Ashes, Ashes Tears filled Jessie’s eyes when she took my hand one evening and said, “I brought Derrick’s ashes. Could we have a service tomorrow in one of these beautiful places around the Sea of Galilee?” I knew her well. She was with her son on our trip to the Holy Land, which her husband…

COVID–19 and the Death of Death

Posted on April 10, 2020
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Death is on people’s minds these days, whether they want it to be or not. According to a recent report by White House science advisors, there is a chance that between 100,000 and 240,000 people will die because of the Coronavirus. In the face of such a staggering number of fatalities, what each of us…

This Holy Week, Remember That You Are Going to Die

Posted on April 3, 2020
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This week, the Presbyterian theologian Carl Trueman reflected on what Christians ought to learn about ourselves and about the world from the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing, he says, seems obvious: “The levels of general panic indicate that few of us have been properly prepared for the reality of our own mortality.” Many Christians have reflected…

Thank you Bishop, and Good-bye

Posted on May 24, 2016
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Ten years ago Fran and I flew to Orlando to say some words to my former bishop, Donis Patterson.  We had not been friends, but when I had heard that his health was failing I felt we had to go to see him. To thank him. In 1985 he appointed me as ‘Missioner’ of the diocese and sent me…

The Funeral: Pastoring in the time of Mourning

Posted on May 3, 2016
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A funeral is one of the most difficult things anyone may ever have to do. Even as “professionals,” it is often difficult to know what to do or what to say. Often we may not even know the deceased that well. They may have been a family member of a parishioner, or they may have attended our church…