Last Words

“I won’t get down. They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist–” (Gen John Sedgwick)

“I’ll show you, it won’t shoot.” (Johnny Ace, before losing at Russian roulette)

“You’re right, it’s time. I love you all.” (Michael Landon)

Some people, such as the above, have some very famous (if occasionally ironic or even amusing) last words. This is something I was thinking about after attending the always outstanding Dave Alvin concert Tuesday night at the Birchmere; I absolutely love his shows and this happened to be the tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of his iconic album, King of California. The title cut is the story of a young man who leaves his love “east of the Ohio River” to head west and make his fortune, promising to “return to claim your hand as the King of California.” Unfortunately the song ends poignantly with the young man dying of a gunshot wound after killing another man in a fight; his last words are recalling his promise, left unfulfilled on this side of life.

It’s said that people on their deathbeds sometimes catch a glimpse of what’s to come; some report seeing angels up by the ceiling over their bed, for instance. Steve Jobs’ last words were, “Wow. Wow. Wow.” I can only imagine what he saw that impressed him so much. I can’t remember my dad’s last words to me; my mom’s were, “I’m tired.”

Not that I have any plans to need any last words anytime soon, but just as an amusing thought experiment, what last words would one have on coming into the Kingdom in its fullest? Some thoughts (add your own in the Comments):

  • “Huh, it’s bigger on the inside” (Nice Doctor Who reference)
  • “They’re all wearing Astros jerseys.” (Said of those ceiling angels; because heaven will be a home game for my beloved Houston Astros)
  • “What are you doing here?” (And let them wonder whom I’m seeing…)
  • From John 20:28: “My Lord and my God!”
  • “I get it now.”
  • Or just go with the classic: “Jesus.”

What do you think?

Author: Waiting For Life

Eric became the Associate Pastor of Sydenstricker United Methodist Church in Springfield, VA, in June 2019, as his first appointment on entering the pastorate. He is also a student at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. He's been a Certified Lay Servant in the UMC since 2003 and has been preaching and teaching about Christ since 1995, and answered Christ's call to pursue ordination in 2018. Opinions and posts are my own, not those of Sydenstricker UMC, or the Alexandria District or the Virginia Annual Conference of the UMC.

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