Final Victory: Death is swallowed up

1-corinthians-15 57

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 KJV

The Verse of the Day for April 20, 2014 comes to mind not only on Resurrection Sunday, but the passage also reminds me of remarks that I shared during a memorial service for a church member who passed away a few years ago. I also included verse 54:

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

The phrase “swallowed up in victory” brought to mind an illustration that I used during the eulogy. A few years ago as I was walking to the mailbox, I noticed a dead mouse on the sidewalk leading up to our condo. It had probably been deposited by a cat that may have tired of playing “cat and mouse.” When I saw the mouse, I returned and went to the garage to find a broom and small plastic bag, into which I scooped the dead animal before tying the ends of the bag. In the trash receptacle in the garage was a large trash bag from the kitchen, holding the deposits from earlier in the week.

The small rodent about 4 inches long was placed inside the small plastic bag that had been stuffed inside the 13-gallon trash bag that would be tossed into a dumpster that would compress hundreds of similar-sized trash bags, all of which would be taken to a massive landfill encompassing several acres. I could see that in the same way the dead mouse would be “swallowed up” when it eventually found its way to the landfill, even so to an even great degree, “Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever)in and unto victory,” according to the Amplified Bible. I rejoiced as I saw how God illustrated in such a striking manner just how inconsequential death, the last enemy, has become because of Jesus Christ’s triumphant defeat of him “who has the power over death, that is the devil.”

The selected passage from I Corinthians 15 was used as the epigraph or introductory scripture for “Final Victory”, an original blues poem that speaks of “Old Man Crab”, referring to cancer, the dreaded disease that takes its name from the constellation Cancer, portrayed as “the crab.” I was first inspired to compose the poem after my father, Lonnie Johnson, died of complications from cancer in 1996. My mother, Jessie Marie Johnson, survived two bouts with “Old Man Crab” and after another valiant fight, died of cancer in 2002. I revised the poem in 2001 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and the entire poem took on even greater significance.

Final Victory

I Corinthians 15:53-57 & Romans 8:37-39

 

Old man crab is mighty sneaky,

always creepin and up to no good,

Old man crab, is mighty sneaky,

always creepin and up to no good,

That low-down dirty rascal,

Messin with folk all round the neighborhood.

 

One dark day old man crab came callin,

Crawlin in like some uninvited mouse,

One dark day old man crab came callin,

Crawlin in like some uninvited mouse,

That nasty dirty devil,

Sneakin in the back door of my sister’s house.

 

First you first attacked my mama, old man crab,

You tried to pinch her with your greatest fears,

First you first attacked my mama, old man crab,

You tried to pinch her with your greatest fears,

But she didn’t want no she-crab soup,

You tried to served with pain and bitter tears.

 

You may have come to our house, old man crab,

But I’m sorry, you can’t stay.

You may have come to our house, old man crab,

But I’m sorry, you can’t stay.

Whatsonever in the world you may do,

Everyday we still gonna watch, fight, and pray.

 

Nothin’ low down on earth, old man crab,

Or nothin high up in heaven above,

Nothin’ low down on earth, old man crab,

Or nothin high up in heaven above,

Not even death, your creepin pardner,

Can ever separate us from God’s love.

 

So git out my face, old man crab,

I got your number, don’t you see.

So git out my face, old man crab,

I got your number, don’t you see.

You may win this li’l biddy battle,

But we show-nuff got the final victory.

 

Some say our Savior’s comin in the mornin;

Some say in the midnight hour or high noon

Some say our Savior’s comin in the mornin;

Some say in the midnight hour or high noon

I got a feelin He’s comin back

To gather us together soon . . . and very soon.

 

Because of Jesus Christ and mighty triumph over sin, disease, and death, as believers in his resurrection, we have a decidedly different perspective on death. We rejoice, as we anticipate the manifestation of the ultimate triumph over the last enemy when we shall experience the reality of the “Final Victory.”

The closing phrase of the poem is taken from a song performed by Andrae Crouch, along with CeCe Winans and the Gaithers, “Soon and Very Soon.”

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3 Responses to “Final Victory: Death is swallowed up”

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      Thanks for stopping by Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe. I appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment. I am blessed to know that you found this post enlightening.

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      Lonnell Johnson/Dr. J

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