Death.  Object of my deepest bitterness. Source of my deepest pain.  Like a dew drop in the desert that sparks my thirst but leaves me dry.  Like a fearsome ancient warlord, Death comes, snatching infants, daughters, lovers, fathers.  Death: a conquered villain.  Death has lost its sting?  Then tell me what is this wrenching, tearing, splintering.  What is this gaping hole, this empty hopelessness.  Death is slain, but still his haunting shadow terrorizes my night.  Jesus, Jesus, hold my closer.  Hold my head against Your chest, and wipe my tears, whispering, “It’ll be okay, my dear.  In the end, you’ll see.”  But even now I am human, and You are God.  Don’t tease me with these missing puzzle pieces between mercy, hope, and Hell.  How can I hear Truth if these Pharisees, my friends, scream it in my ears while I burry the unrepentant sinner that they never loved.  The unrepentant sinner that loved me as they never, ever loved.  Death strips the world of beauty, love and grace, and leaves me naked in the cold wet street with nothing but my shame to cover me.  Death: tool of God’s divine will.  What sickly, wanton Grace is this that grants a father life when Death has slaughtered both his sons before his eyes, and then takes his sight?  What cruel, ironic Mercy which washes a woman safely on shore once she has watched her lover drown?  God of Mercy, God of Grace, lead me not into temptation.  And deliver me from blasphemous thoughts.  But forbid me not to ask the Truth.  And when Death returns to ravage my world, refuse him the right to pass over me.  May God have mercy on all of our souls. Amen.

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