Ever since I have been back home in San Diego I have been living in the shadows of the experience as connected with the experience of the great Patriarch, Moses. Specifically, I cannot shake the recurring picture of Moses standing by the right hand of God for the last time, looking out over the gorgeous expanse of the Promised Land. I keep visiting the vision day after day, each time with a deeper appreciation for the way that God was letting Moses know that this vision was the key to his passing through the Pearly Gates for having done God's bidding for so many years and through so many harrowing moments. There is a great measure of merciful justice in the picture that we see when we visit and bask in the simple language of Exodus:
1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the peak of Pisgah which faces Jericho, and the LORD showed him all the land 2 Gilead, and as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3 the Negeb, the plain (the valley of Jericho, the City of Palms), and as far as Zoar. 4 The LORD then said to him, "This is the land about which I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not cross over." 5 So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the LORD, died as the LORDhad said; 6 and he was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; to this day no one knows the place of his burial. 7 Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated. (Emphasis mine) 8 The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days, till they had completed the period of grief and mourning for Moses. 9 Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands upon him; and so the Israelites gave him their obedience, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
10 Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 in all the signs and wonders the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh and all his servants and against all his land, 12 and all the great might and the awesome power that Moses displayed in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy, chapter 34)
|The VIEW, North over the Land of Milk and Honey|
|I have deciphered the eulogy found at the foot of the monument|
"To this lad in rime, who e're thou art draw near.
Here lies the Friend most loved, the Son most dear
Who never knew joy but Friendship might divide
Or gave his Father Grief but when he died."
Believe it or not, I am sure that there is a connection between Moses and the tombstone at the head of this article. It is a headstone that can be found in one of the many historically important graveyards of the city of Boston, Massachusetts. I tried to make the contrast clearer, but was not very successful. This is the grave of John Hurd, Jr. Officer in the Massachusetts Regiment in the Continental Army. He gave his life in 1784 for what was yet to become the United States of America. He was all of 24 years old.
This young man is one of the hundreds, if not thousands of young people who died for what we have today. While I was standing there I was thinking of Moses. God actually rewarded Moses by showing him that the goal had been reached. John Hurd was never able to bask in the sight of the goal for which he fought.
I went back to Massachusetts on the occasion of my 80th birthday. I was there with my beloved spouse, the one whom you know as the "Voice from the Kitchen." (Isabel by name) We had our two loving sons with us, Marc and Jo-El. We spent a good part of two days with near family and two days in Boston. Yes, I felt like Moses. Now all I need are 40 more years to fill out the divine quota. Especially the part that says that Moses was still spry at his age. (Verse 7)
One way or the other, I announce and decree once again, in the names of John Hurd, Moses and our loving Father Creator, there is to be No Crying at my Funeral.