Go Down Death

A poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) that I saw in a literature book at Bethany’s open house tonight:

Go Down Death

(A Funeral Sermon)

Weep not, weep not,

She is not dead;

She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.

Heart-broken husband–weep no more;

Grief-stricken son–weep no more;

Left-lonesome daughter –weep no more;

She only just gone home.

Day before yesterday morning,

God was looking down from his great, high heaven,

Looking down on all his children,

And his eye fell on Sister Caroline,

Tossing on her bed of pain.

And God’s big heart was touched with pity,

With the everlasting pity.

And God sat back on his throne,

And he commanded that tall, bright angel standing at his right hand:

Call me Death!

And that tall, bright angel cried in a voice

That broke like a clap of thunder:

Call Death!–Call Death!

And the echo sounded down the streets of heaven

Till it reached away back to that shadowy place,

Where Death waits with his pale, white horses.

And Death heard the summons,

And he leaped on his fastest horse,

Pale as a sheet in the moonlight.

Up the golden street Death galloped,

And the hooves of his horses struck fire from the gold,

But they didn’t make no sound.

Up Death rode to the Great White Throne,

And waited for God’s command.

And God said: Go down, Death, go down,

Go down to Savannah, Georgia,

Down in Yamacraw,

And find Sister Caroline.

She’s borne the burden and heat of the day,

She’s labored long in my vineyard,

And she’s tired–

She’s weary–

Go down, Death, and bring her to me.

And Death didn’t say a word,

But he loosed the reins on his pale, white horse,

And he clamped the spurs to his bloodless sides,

And out and down he rode,

Through heaven’s pearly gates,

Past suns and moons and stars;

on Death rode,

Leaving the lightning’s flash behind;

Straight down he came.

While we were watching round her bed,

She turned her eyes and looked away,

She saw what we couldn’t see;

She saw Old Death. She saw Old Death

Coming like a falling star.

But Death didn’t frighten Sister Caroline;

He looked to her like a welcome friend.

And she whispered to us: I’m going home,

And she smiled and closed her eyes.

And Death took her up like a baby,

And she lay in his icy arms,

But she didn’t feel no chill.

And death began to ride again–

Up beyond the evening star,

Into the glittering light of glory,

On to the Great White Throne.

And there he laid Sister Caroline

On the loving breast of Jesus.

And Jesus took his own hand and wiped away her tears,

And he smoothed the furrows from her face,

And the angels sang a little song,

And Jesus rocked her in his arms,

And kept a-saying: Take your rest,

Take your rest.

Weep not–weep not,

She is not dead;

She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.


Pascal’s Memorial

Found in the lining of Pascal’s coat after his death.

The year of grace 1654,

Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr, and others in the martyrology.

Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others.

From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight,


GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob

not of the philosophers and of the learned.

Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.

GOD of Jesus Christ.

My God and your God.

Your GOD will be my God.

Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.

He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.

Grandeur of the human soul.

Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.

Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.

I have departed from him:

They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.

My God, will you leave me?

Let me not be separated from him forever.

This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.

Let me never be separated from him.

He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:

Renunciation, total and sweet.

Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.

Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.

May I not forget your words. Amen.

[H/T The Anchoress]

Oh man . . .

This was going to be the Houston Texans’ season. This was the one where we were going to put it all together and make the playoffs.

Well, it’s still early, but this doesn’t look very promising. We’re getting clobbered by a “supposedly” not very good New York Jets team, and we’re making their rookie quarterback look like Dan Marino.

It’s a long season, but if this is any indication, we’re in deep trouble.

Update: Wait, we just intercepted it. Granted, we fumbled on the interception return, but another Texan picked it up and ran it in for six! So, slight amount of hope here in the fourth quarter.

Update 2: . . . never mind . . .

Sorry for my absence

Haven’t posted anything for a few days. Sorry.

I just wrote to my congressman and my two senators telling them how I think they should vote on the healthcare bill(s). But I’m not telling which way . . .


Behold, how good and pleasant it is

when brothers dwell in unity!

It is like the precious oil on the head,

running down on the beard,

on the beard of Aaron,

running down on the collar of his robes!

It is like the dew of Hermon,

which falls on the mountains of Zion!

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,

life forevermore.

– Psalm 133

How good and pleasant. And rare!

Unity among brothers is so good. It’s like the sweet annointing, consecrating oil running down Aaron’s beard. It is holiness. It is beautiful.

It is hard to attain. Especially when I am concentrated on non-essentials and peripherals. My eyesight is not good. Essentials blur before my eyes, but boy will I fixate on something that’s not important at all.

Unity is like refreshing dew, new in the morning, but that can burn away so quickly.

Unity is worth fighting for. It’s worth dying for. Unity in the church, among the children of God, is the standard of love that draws the world to Christ.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

– John 17:20-26

May we become “perfectly one”. I don’t know how this will happen, but I know it’s what Christ prayed for.

May I be a peacemaker when I can, may I disregard the desire to be right, may I stay out of vain disputes.

May I do my part for unity.

My confession

I lose myself in “what-ifs”. This comes in waves, but this weekend I dealt with a number of “what-if” worries.

The what-ifs always involve my kids, and usually involve scary imagined scenarios in which they get hurt.

Nothing will steal the joy of the moment away from worrying about a million futures, which probably won’t even happen.

Plus, when I’m in What-If land, I am absolutely no fun. At all.


A quick list:

Andrew turned twenty yesterday. Yes. Twenty.

We got to see both Andrew and Molly this weekend. Awesome. We’re celebrating Andrew’s birthday tonight.

Bethany won the part of Olga in Stage Door. Not only will she be acting, but she’ll be playing the piano. Great part.

The Dallas Texans – Houston Division U12 Red team (Blake’s team) dominated at the tournament this weekend. They won their four games, 4-1, 4-0, 2-1, and 2-1 against some tough Dallas Texans – Dallas Division competition. They looked fabulous.

We’re blessed.