Sunday, February 02, 2014

"How Many More" by Bob Cleveland

With the announcement Sunday, February 2, 2014 of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death by drug overdose, we are confronted with another famous person who dies prematurely. A poem comes to mind by my friend Bob Cleveland, a poem that beautifully asks a few important questions. Bob wrote the poem five years ago after the death of Chris Farley and while contemplating the deaths of people like Chris, John Belushi and River Phoenix. The words Bob used in 2009 are as appropriate today as they were then.


How many more will have to die
Before the Lord tells you and I
In words we can’t misunderstand
That we all live only by His hand

And furthermore we’re in a war
With Alcohol … and Drugs .. and more
That overwhelms our spirits so
And leads us to that land of woe
Where the famous die and friends are grieving
For talented and loved ones leaving
This world and going who-knows-where
With pain that’s more than they can bear

God does not trifle, as we have seen
It’s not that He is ever mean…
But rest assured that He is just
And those who do not in Him trust

And give Him sway, in truth and fact
Live only by His gracious act
Of mercy undeserved and free
That He can stop whenever He

Decides that it is fit and meet
To sweep abusers off their feet…
As Chris and John and River know...
To where they never thought they’d go.

So time has come: don’t take for granted
That seeds by which your deeds you’ve planted
Won’t sprout and grow and put to sleep
The life you thought you’d always keep,

And too late come to see the facts
That you and others by your acts
Have drawn the curtain to a close
Much sooner than you might suppose.

How many more will have to die?
Not mine to say, but I know that I
Will not be one of those who do…
The question is … will one be you?


Christiane said...

May Phillip, through the infinite mercy of God, rest in peace.

God our Father,
Your power brings us to birth,
Lord, those who die still live
in Your presence,
their lives change but do not end.
In company with Christ, may Phillip find the peace of Your kingdom,
where all our tears are wiped away.

Hear our prayer O Lord. Thy great mercy is from the ages to the ages. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Sadly,when we stand before the Judgement Seat on our own, representing ourselves, with the plea that we did it our way, there can only be one verdict : Guilty-- take him down! John 3:36

We must settle out of court by accepting the reprieve, graciously offered by Jesus Christ, through availing ourselves of His abounding credit. John 3:16, Rom 8:1

"Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" Rom 10:13.

Thank you Lord for being willing to hear the humble prayers of those who put their trust in the atoning work of Jesus Christ.