Jesus lives, my sure defense
and my everlasting Savior!
Knowing this, my confidence
rests in hope and will not waver,
though the night of death be fraught
still with many an anxious thought.
I am flesh and must return
unto dust, whence I am taken.
But these eyes my Lord will know
when from death I shall awaken,
with my Savior to abide
in his glory, at his side.
Then take comfort and rejoice,
for his people Christ will cherish.
Fear not, you will hear his voice;
dying, you will never perish;
for the very grave is stirred
when the trumpet's blast is heard.
"Support us, O Lord, all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last, through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Portions of this Funeral Prayer, from the Book of Common Prayer accompany our God Pause reflections for this week)
And our work is done.
The last three verses of this hymn especially struck me in the course of the readings for this week. They speak in affirmation that, though we will die, we will never perish. Not even death can keep us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Through our baptismal waters we are bound to Christ's death and resurrection. We are buried with Christ in a death like his so that we are also bound with Christ in a resurrection like his. Though we are dust, and to that dust we shall return, even that dust is God's own. When our work is done, we await the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting!
Let us pray,
Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, you are the creator and maker of all. And we are mortals formed of the earth, and to the earth we shall return. For so did you ordain when you created me saying, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." All of us go down to the dust, yet even at the grave we make our song, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. Amen. (from Eastern Orthodox Hymn for the Departed)