Jehoram was 32 years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the royal cemetery. (2 Chron. 21v20)

PEOPLE do not like to talk about death. But it comes anyhow. According to Shakespeare: ‘It is a necessary end that will come, when it will come’. We who live now should take out time to reflect on what memory we would leave behind.

Jehoram’s reign was marked by sin and cruelty. He married a woman who worshipped an idol, killed six of his brothers and promoted idol worship. He was not killed in battle or treachery– he died by a lingering and painful disease: ‘After all these, the Lord struck Jehoram with severe intestinal disease. The disease grew worse and worse and at the end of two years it caused his bowels to come out, and he died in agony. His people did not build a great funeral fire to honour him as they had done for his ancestors.’ (2 chron. 21v18, 19)

The memory of Jehoram was a disaster. His people were not sorry at his death; no royal burial was accorded him. He was a cruel man while he lived; an idol worshipper and a murderer. This added great evil to the land.

But if you contrast his death with a young woman in Acts, you will be challenged: ‘In Joppa there was disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, Please come at once! Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them’. (Acts 9v36-39)

People sang the praise of Dorcas (Tabitha) at her death. They drew Peter to the scene: ‘Tabitha, get up (said Peter). She opened her eyes and seeing Peter sat up.’ (Acts 9v40(b)

We have been presented with two characters today, Jehoram and Dorcas and we are responsible for whichever we identify with.

Dorcas’ memory will forever linger for good; she took care of the less privileged. Possibly she knew of the words of Jesus in Mtt. 25v34-36 and practiced it well: ‘Then the King will say to those on his right, come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’.

People of God, what memory are we leaving behind? Do you know that friends and foes alike will certainly remember you? As each day draws us closer to our graves, let us ask God to help us live aright.

Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre,
Delta State.


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