Walt Whitman’s poem “O Captain! My Captain” celebrates the restoration of the Union after the Civil War. It also grieves the loss of President Lincoln. Each of the three stanzas ends with a reference to that loss: “Fallen cold and dead.” “You’ve fallen cold and dead.” “Fallen cold and dead.” The Union saved, YES! Abraham Lincoln, DEAD! Not a dream; a nightmare. The cause outlived the person who embodied it, because the cause soared greater still, however great the man.
But Jesus and the Kingdom of God, co-terminus, exist together, indivisible! He is both the Cause of the Kingdom and the essential Person in the Kingdom! Forgiveness of sin is experienced because he rose from the dead. Heaven is won because Jesus lives. Hope in tomorrow flourishes because Jesus Reigns forever.
And if we still can’t find in the promises what moves us to accept and live for Jesus, personalize them. All who now sing so low they can’t hear themselves will then be belting out hymns like Enrico Caruso, in solos or in vast choirs. Those who can’t imagine themselves standing in front of people talking will be preaching like Billy Graham.
Those who don’t know a scripture verse larger than “Jesus Wept” will be quoting long passages from David’s psalms and Paul’s epistles. Those tone deaf will be composing cantatas. Those who can’t move their hips except to walk will be like David, leaping in sacred dance before the Throne; or, like Joy Hurley, unfolding their arms in the sacred allure and soft moves of hula.
Those who don’t know high C from a C-note will find themselves experts in trumpets, guitars, violins and—Sergio Saucedo—accordions. They will all play in sacred harmonies the soaring passion of Elijah and the towering “lift you off your seat, rise from your seat and stand on tip-toe” strains of the Hallelujah Chorus.
And...for those who like to keep their distance from others—who feel uncomfortable hugging...we’ll be laughing and hugging everyone in sight and, when We All Get To Heaven, there’ll always be someone in sight!
The last word: hold lightly what we now cannot keep. Hold firmly what in faithfulness to Jesus Christ we cannot lose! Fini