I am thinking of the Danish sculptor of great fame, Thorvaldsen, who chose to be buried in the midst of his work-not in a cathedral or a cemetery, but in a museum among the monuments of his own making- in the midst of his statuary; and there what he made and what he did with his life surrounds him. He did not theorize upon sculpturing, only, but with his hands and with his creative gift he fashioned those things and he lies there in the midst of his works, as we all shall do someday-and it will not be the theories or the discussions or the speculations or the set of principles or the set of commandments that shall save us. We shall be no better than we are. We are no better than the tithing we pay, no better than the teaching we do, no better than the service we give, no better than the commandments we keep, no better than the lives we live, and we shall have a bright remembrance of these things and we shall, in a sense, lie down in the midst of what we have done when that time comes.
The ever-present expectancy of death is never far removed from any of us - whether we realize it or not. None of us can avoid it. It comes alike to the great and to the unknown; to the righteous and to the unrighteous. Wherein we differ is not in our ability to avert it, but in the preparedness with which we meet it. At such times some question the judgments of God. Some find bitterness because of the circumstances and because of the seeming untimeliness of death.
With our limited understanding, often we do not agree with the time and the place and the manner in which men come and go. We see many live and prosper, who, according to our way of thinking may not deserve to do either. We see many die, who, in our judgment, have earned the right to live and whose presence among us is sorely needed. And if, with our limited perspective and understanding, we were called upon to give an explanation of the pattern of life and death as it daily takes shape before our eyes, we might be led to conclude that in it all there is lack of purpose, lack of justice, lack of consistency.
But fortunately for us and for all men, it has not been given unto us to judge, nor to execute, nor to measure out the days and the years of men. We may be most grateful that such matters belong to the Lord God our Father, who sees things past and things to come. And, we may be grateful for the assurance that there is plan and purpose in this world, and in our own lives.