Looking Beyond (9) – Towards Eternity

Looking Beyond (9) – Towards Eternity

There is a beautiful, haunting poem by Emily Dickinson which ends like this:

Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

‘Because I Could Not Stop For Death’, Emily Dickinson

She imagines taking a journey. Death is in the carriage with her, and at the end, after symbolically travelling through her life, she sees the horses gazing into eternity…

At university I lost a friend to death. It brought back memories of bereavement when I lost my grandfather as a young boy. If there’s anything that makes us look beyond, it’s that experience of losing someone.

There is a poweful story in the Gospel of John about Lazarus, which Sebastian Del Plombo paints dramatically in a huge canvass on display in the National Gallery, London:

The Raising of Lazarus, Sebastian Del Piombo

The man who was dead, Lazarus, is there on the right, looking distinctly off colour! But what a narrative! The spiritual power to raise the dead to life.

What is beyond?

You will have your own beliefs and ideas. The Christian spiritual tradition offers the hope of resurrection.

Lazarus would have known what that was like.

You can read Emily Dickinson’s poem here.

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