Love and Death

The Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings 1066 may seem an odd choice today. All I am trying to show are “quivers” which feature in Kipling’s short poem entitled The Explanation and written in 1890. Sometimes I can compare a poem with chocolate cake! Seriously! When its good there is noting else to compare. I enjoy Kipling’s poem which sets up the scene at a tavern door when Love and Death call for wine and each throw their quiver to the grass. Then when all the drinking is done, they gather them up but this time the arrows are all mixed up. It is just a playful moment full of imagination. I will offer no explanation to the poem The Explanation I will leave that for you to ponder. However, let me share with you one silly memory. In 2008, I stood outside the Church of Gethsemane, in Gethsemane Israel and there on the outside wall was a reminder to tour guides that on entry you must not stay too long –“no explanations inside the church” – It caused me to quietly chuckle as I pondered that the church for centuries has been trying and continues to try to offer explanations, each and every Sunday! Do Enjoy!

The Explanation


Love and Death once ceased their strife
At the Tavern of Man’s Life.
Called for wine, and threw — alas! —
Each his quiver on the grass.
When the bout was o’er they found
Mingled arrows strewed the ground.
Hastily they gathered then
Each the loves and lives of men.
Ah, the fateful dawn deceived!
Mingled arrows each one sheaved;
Death’s dread armoury was stored
With the shafts he most abhorred;
Love’s light quiver groaned beneath
Venom-headed darts of Death.
Thus it was they wrought our woe
At the Tavern long ago.
Tell me, do our masters know,
Loosing blindly as they fly,
Old men love while young men die?

Loving God,
hear our daily prayer
as we seek to bid you
to become part of our life and
as we seek to become part of your life, O eternal God.
May your love O Holy God, transform us so that
we become more holy and more human.
As we live this your gift of life remind us
of our mortality and through your eternal promise
may we live without fear of death.
Although we will forever seek
to comprehend the incomprehensible, save us
from being caught up in the search for
Help us to accept the holy mystery, not just of your
birth, death, and resurrection in the person of Jesus but
also the mystery of our own birth, death, and resurrection in
and through the grace and love of Christ Jesus. Amen.

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