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Death Be Not Proud
By: Chris Culver

Death surrounds and looms over us all. Death has plagued us since humans were ushered out of the Garden but still most people do not like talking about death. We do not like to think about death. To most people death seems so final and so inevitable. But the Christian teaching on death is unique. Death is not something to be stoically embraced nor is it something to be feared. Death is something to be defeated. It is the enemy and the consequence of a spiritual catastrophe.   John Donne’s sonnet "Death, Be Not Proud" is a wonderful reflection on the biblical view of death. Death was defeated by the death of our Lord and even death’s apparent victory over us ushers those who belong to Jesus into eternity where we will await the death of death in our savior’s presence. The sonnet is below. It is magnificent. Read the whole thing and then go back and reflect on each quatrain. Return to it often. The death of Jesus has removed death’s sting, setting us free to live with abandon because death has no power over us.  

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.