Readings and meditations on death

Your Light Remains - Revd. Jacquie Riker – 2003

In the joy of your heart,
Your light remains.

In the gift of your caring,
Your light remains.

Where you reached out to help,
Your light remains.

Where you sat in silent peace,
Your light remains.

In the place where you worked,
Your light remains.

In the stillness of the starry night,
Your light remains.

In the light of each day fully embraced,
Your light remains.

Like the touch of an Angel,
Your light remains.

When you live as a light,
Your heart is joined in the Infinite Light of Love.
And that about you which is eternal … remains.

Eulogy for the Martyred Children - Martin Luther King jr. – 1963

Now I say to you in conclusion,
life is hard,
at times as hard as crucible steel. (Mmm)
It has its bleak and difficult moments.
Like the ever-flowing waters of the river,
life has its moments of drought and its moments of flood. (Yeah)
Like the ever-changing cycle of the seasons,
life has the soothing warmth of its summers
and the piercing chill of its winters. (Yeah)
But if one will hold on,
he will discover that God walks with him, (Yeah. Well)
and that God is able (Yeah) to lift you from the fatigue of despair
to the buoyancy of hope
and transform dark and desolate valleys
into sunlit paths of inner peace. (Mmm)

On Death - Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day
cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death,
open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one,
even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires
lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like the seeds dreaming beneath the snow
your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams,
for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd
when he stands before the king whose hand
is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling,
that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind
and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing,
but to free the breath from its restless tides,
that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence
shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top,
then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs,
then shall you truly dance.

Do not stand at my grave and weep Mary Elizabeth Frye - 1932

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

The love that once was born Algernon Black

The love that once was born cannot die
for it has become part of us, of our life,
woven into the very texture of our being.
Each of us would wish to leave some part of ourselves,
so here and now we bear witness to the one we knew in life,
who now in death bequeaths a subtle part, precious and beloved,
which will be with us in truth and beauty,
in dignity and courage and love
to the end of our days.