This Annunciation graphic is by Kathy Grimm
The Angel of Grief
by J. G. Wittier
With silence only as their benediction,
God’s angels come,
Where in the shadow of a great affliction,
The soul sits dumb.
Yet would we say, what every heart approveth,
Our Father’s will,
Calling to him the dear ones whom he loveth,
Is mercy still.
Not upon us or ours the solemn angel
Hath evil wrought;
The funeral anthem is a glad evangel,
The good die not!
God calls our loved ones, but we lose not wholly
What he has given;
They live on earth in thought and deed as truly
As in his heaven.
The Reaper And The Flowers.
by Henry W. Longfellow
There is a Reaper whose name is Death,
And with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.
“Shall I have naught that is fair?” said he,
“Have naught but the bearded grain?
Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
I will give them all back again.”
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes;
He kissed their drooping leaves;
It was for the Lord of paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.
“My Lord hath need of these flowerets gay,”
The reaper said, and smiled;
“Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where he was once a child.
“They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted by my care,
And saints upon their garments white,
These sacred blossoms wear,”
And the mother gave in tears and pain
The flowers she most did love;
She knew she should find them all again
In fields of light above.
Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The reaper came that day;
‘Twas an angel visited the green earth,
And took the flowers away!
He is not here; He is risen.
“Christ is risen.” How these words change the whole aspect of human life! Nothing short of this could be our proof and pledge that we also shall rise. We are not left to dim intimations or vague hopes, or faint analogies, but we have a permanent and a firm conviction, a sure and certain hope. Look into the the Savior’s empty tomb. “He is not here: He is risen, as He said.” They that sleep in all those narrow graves shall wake again, shall rise again. Weep not widowed wife, father, orphan boy, Thy dead shall live. They shall come forth from the power of death and Hades. What a mighty victory! What a giant sporting! What a trampling of the last enemy beneath the feet! What a hope, what a change in the thought of life! Bravely and happily let us walk through the dark valley, for out of it is a door of immortality that opens on the gardens of heaven and the streams of life, where the whole soul is flooded by the sense of a newer and grander being, and our tears wiped away by God’s own hand. This is the Christian’s hope truly, and herein Christ makes us more than conquerors, for we not only triumph over the enemy, but profit by him, wringing out of his curse a blessing, out of his prison a coronation and a home. “It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.” Let us live in love, in humility, in Christ and for Christ. This will make us noble and happy in life, this will strengthen us to smile at death, this will cause us to live all our days in the continual light of these two most marvelous of all Christian truths: the resurrection of the body, and the immortality of the soul.– by Canon F. W. Farrar, D. D.