1 Corinthians 15:54

I watched a woman die last week.deathquotesredo550

It was near midnight when I stepped into Mrs. O. M’s room at the nursing home in Nassawadox.  Mrs. O. M was a member of my church in Cheriton.  Years ago she had played the organ in our services.  A stroke had left her without a memory.

The resident across the way was straightening his blanket, partly hidden by the half-drawn curtain that divided the room.  There were no doctors present.  There were no machines to prop  life up, to pump fluids, to whiz and whirl in perpetual life support.

It was a quiet night.  The padded shoes of the attendants making rounds in the halls accompanied the soft conversation of myself and Mrs. O. M’s daughter and husband.  We sat tightly bunched on the left side of the bed where the unsteady rise and fall of Mrs. O. M’s chest could be seen.

We felt so helpless.  We were mere spectators in a game without rules.  I couldn’t just blow a whistle and call a halt to it all.   We sat.  We watched.  She died.  It was that simple.

It’s a stunning thing to sit precariously on a front row seat watching the drama of death play itself out.  We were in two worlds that night:  We were here.  We were  there.  She was here.  Then, she was there.  We saw her make the transition.  We watched her step over the boundary that divides the worlds.  We prayed as she slid smoothly into eternity.

I will never forget that night.  I met death firsthand.  I left with its breath on my heart.  I felt the chill.  But I gained confidence in the encounter.  And I departed with the thought of Paul’s text on my mind.

Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting? (1 Cor. 15:54).

David R. Denny  Ph.D.

The photo above comes from this site:


Meditations from the Classics

Lucretius (c. 99 BC – c. 55 BC)
De rerum natura  (On the Nature of Things–1:150)
John 1:1-3

Let’s listen in on Lucretius’ thoughts to himself as he writes his poetry:


Let me tell you why the world is gripped by fear.  It’s because people think there is a god behind all the evils and mysteries of the universe.  That’s nonsense.  God had nothing to do with the creation of the world.  In fact, my starting point will be this principle:  Nothing can ever be created by divine power out of nothing…. Accordingly, when we have seen that nothing can be created out of nothing, we shall then have a clearer picture of the path ahead, the problem of how things are created and occasioned without the aid of the gods.


Well, I suppose Lucretius has the right to his opinion. But in all fairness, we ought to let another ancient luminary express a thought or two.  The apostle John felt this way about God’s role in creation:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being by Him” (John 1:1-3).

Not long after Lucretius wrote his words, at age forty-four, he killed himself.  Jerome tells us he was driven mad by a love potion and took his own life.  His belief in a loving God was completely shattered by his own twisted logic.

Is it such an impossible thing to believe there is a mighty Monarch above who sifts the stars for pleasure and who rolls out the galaxies like a kid playing marbles?  Is it such an impossible thing to believe there is an Almighty God who once played in the dirt and made a man?

You choose.  Either Lucretius is right or the apostle John is.
I’ll stick with John.

David R. Denny  Ph.D.