death of a child

The Death of the Sons of David

While David’s soldiers were fighting in the field, the general was surrendering at home – skulking around his rooftop, peeping at exposed flesh, luring the woman in and letting his lust have full rein. In the regal door, between the regal sheets, out the door again – there goes the daughter of Sheba, the mistress of David, the wife of Uriah. The whole nasty affair would have been easily hushed up had not David’s wild oats, sown into forbidden soil, taken root and begun to grow. Nine months later, not a single “Hosanna” greeted this son of David. He came in the name of the Scarlet Letter. The erstwhile husband of his mother had been cut down on a battlefield, neatly killed by his father’s treachery. The child of an adulteress. The son of a murderer. Ugly, so pitifully ugly, is the whole mess.

We don’t even know his name. He is stricken by the Lord. As if a sad emblem of how bad, how utterly spoiled, is this world God once crafted in seven days, the child is sick, then still sicker, then sick unto death in one week’s time. This son of David never makes it to the 8th day.

Who of you does not shudder to think that this is what your sin does? Oh, we giggle at our faults, we downplay our wrongdoing, we yawn during confession. But whose eyes are dry and whose heart is unfeeling when the tiny casket is lowered into the cold, dark earth?

Repent. For David and his lover have more than a little in common with you. For their lot is yours and yours is theirs. For it is not only the man who says he says no sin that deceives himself, but also the man who says he has only a little sin. And be it lust or be it pride or be it greed, whatever it be, its wages are still paid in that currency called death.

Yet as we mourn, but unlike those who have no hope, so also we repent, but unlike those who have no absolution. For we though we weep, there is a hand that dries all tears. And though we confess, there is a mouth that answers, “I forgive you. I have taken away your sin; you shall not die.”

David arose from fasting and weeping after the death of his child for, as he said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” And why should he return, for had he not gone to Abraham’s bosom? Circumcised as the heavenly Father’s own or commended to Him by David’s weeping and tears – either way, this son of David, who heard no Hosannas at his birth, was greeted by angelic choirs when he left this veil of tears. And David awaits the day he will join his son.

For the blood that would be shed by the greater Son of David covered them as it covers you. He who was in the womb dies for those in the womb. He who was an infant dies for infants. He who was a toddler and teenager and adult – He sums up all humanity in Himself and brings it through the day of crucifixion, through the day of burial, to the day of resurrection life. Yes, this Son of David makes it to the 8th day, and you He brings with Him. Your adulteries of heart or flesh; your greed of mind or hand; from the sin of which you have boasted to that of which you are most ashamed, He swallows it all in the cup of the Father’s wrath.

And so it is done. All is done well. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.