I Used to Mourn (Poetry by Arnolda Brenneman)
As you read this poem, think of the hope of resurrection that these scriptures promise for the believer. It was with this perspective that Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:17 about his persecutions and sufferings “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure”. (NRSV)
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?
1 Corinthians 15:12-27 (NRSV)
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”
I Used to Mourn
I used to mourn when petals wilt after the spring;
To grieve the passing of colored leaves that
Browned and left the trees bereaved.
I would regret the fruit that rotted on the ground,
Leaving only mounds for buzzing bees
To glean their passing sweetness.
I was sad when grasses turned to straw,
The earth was hardened without thaw,
And the landscape looked depleted.
Seated on the chair was Grandma Grace–
I did not know that for many years
I would not see her loving face.
She went the way of all the earth;
In a land where birth is short lived mirth;
All young life grows old and decays.
In a hundred thousand ways we say
Goodbye to the new we can’t preserve;
Farewell to a youth we cannot keep.
We weep, we weep, and if we could,
We would delete the ravages
Of these small passages called time.
We try, oh; we try, to mask the signs–
With body tucks and cream for wrinkles…
To disguise, betray the ticking hours…
The rain sprinkles on periwinkle flowers,
Leaving crystal droplets on their path;
But, we ask, how long will this small joy last ?
Alas, this pleasure too shall come to pass.
Of this dilemma, what says the sage;
And what declares the scriptures?
We think the journey’s wrapping up
When it hardly has unfolded: we behold
A thing the end when it’s only the beginning.
When life passes by us on a movies screen,
We will see that love was never wasted,
And dreams really do come true.
We may learn that this brief quest
Was just a test, a trial run; a boot camp
For the measure of eternity;
In a land where blossoms never wilt,
And colors never fade, promises are kept
And all the sorrow tears we wept
Watered new earth for new bloomings;
Where childhood joys stay forever young;
Interrupted songs are finally sung;
When estranged friends see eye to eye,
And no more need to make amends,
Nor poverty to leave with us its lack.
There is no more burden on our backs
From anxious earthly cares
Where we share the laughter
Of every reborn creature, and
Every goodly feature of this earth
Is sustained and magnified
In transcending, luminescent brightness;
Of this I choose to be a witness:
That this is why I mourn no more.
Arnolda Brenneman © 4-1-10