We sang Crown Him With Many Crowns a couple of weeks ago at church. I remember it well, because it was just after my grandmother's funeral, and the following stanza struck a particular chord and stuck with me.
Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed o'er the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save.
His glories now we sing,
who died, and rose on high,
who died, eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.
At Grandma's memorial service, we were given the opportunity to say something. I decided to try to find something from or about a Scripture passage on death, and after doing some research, I found what I wanted in a sermon from Charles Spurgeon, quoted in the book We Shall See God: Charles Spurgeon's Classic Devotional Thoughts on Heaven, by Randy Alcorn. (If that book sounds familiar, you may have previously read this review.)
Preaching on 1 Cor. 15:3-6, Spurgeon said this:
In the heathen part of the catacombs of Rome, the inscriptions over the place where their dead were buried are full of grief and despair. Indeed, the writers of those inscriptions do not appear to have been able to find words in which they could express their great distress, their agony of heart, at the loss of child or husband or friend. They pile the mournful words together, trying to describe their grief. Sometimes they declare that the light has gone from their sky now that their dear ones are taken from them.
"Alas! Alas!" says the record. "Dear Caius has gone, and with him all joy is quenched forever, for I shall see him no more." But when you come into that part of the catacombs which was devoted to Christian burial vaults, everything is different. There you may constantly read these consoling words: "He sleeps in peace." There is nothing dreadful or despairing in the inscriptions there; they are submissive, they are cheerful, they are even thankful. Frequently they are victorious, and the most common emblem is not the quenched torch, as it is on the heathen side, where the light is supposed to have gone out forever, but the palm branch, to signify that the victory remains eternally with the departed one. It is the glory of the Christian religion to have let light into the grave, to have taken away the sting from death, and in fact, to have made it no more death to die.
Our dearly departed loved ones who have died in Christ now have no more death to die, and it is all thanks to the Lord of life.