Sermon quotes on death

Augustine of Hippo

The Jews looked upon a serpent to be freed from serpents; and we look upon the death of Christ to be delivered from death.



Harriet Beecher-Stowe

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

Winston Churchill

I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.


Norm Crosby

My school was so rough the school newspaper had an obituary section.


Emily Dickinson

Unable are the Loved to die / For Love is Immortality…



Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist when I do?”


Stanley Hauerwas

Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead.  But Lazarus is still to die.  We are still to die.  Jesus, by contrast, has been raised never again to die.  His death makes possible a communion that overwhelms the loneliness our sin creates.  Our God has made his home among the mortals by assuming our deadly flesh so that we might be made friends of Jesus and even one another.  Such friendship means we rightly mourn the loss of friends, yet we can rejoice in the knowledge that the living and the dead share the common reality of this new city, a city of the martyrs, the New Jerusalem.

A Cross Shattered Church, Brazos Press.

Stanley Hauerwas

We live in a death-denying world that seems determined to develop technologies that will enable us to get out of life alive.  Yet the more we strive to be free of death the more we are shaped by the death-determined means we create to try to free ourselves of death.  Even more paradoxical, the means we use to free ourselves from death only serve to increase our isolation from one another.  We fear the loneliness we think death entails, but it turns out that the loneliness we fear death entails is the expression of the loneliness made unavoidable by our attempts to avoid death.

A Cross Shattered Church, Brazos Press.

Ernest Hemingway

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

Steve Jobs

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

Peter Kreeft

He’s what we really need. If your friend is sick and dying, the most important thing he wants is not an explanation but for you to sit with him. He’s terrified of being alone more than anything else. So God has not left us alone.

Taken from Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith, Zondervan.

C.S. Lewis

“When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


Jim Morrison

No one here gets out alive.

William Shakespeare

Cowards die many times before their deaths; 

The valiant never taste of death but once. 

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, 

It seems to me most strange that men should fear; 

Seeing that death, a necessary end, 

Will come when it will come.

Julius Caesar 

Charles Spurgeon

Never fear dying, beloved. Dying is the last, but the least matter that a Christian has to be anxious about. Fear living – that is a hard battle to fight, a stern discipline to endure, a rough voyage to undergo.

J.R.R. Tolkien

“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)

J.R.R. Tolkien

“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.”

The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, #3

Isaac Watts

Time, like an ever rolling stream,

Bears all its sons away;

They fly forgotten as a dream

Dies at the break of day.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood

With all their cares and fears,

Are carried downward like a flood

And lost in following years.


Douglas Adams

 Invited to write his own epitaph: 

 He finally met his deadline

 BBC Radio 4 Quote Unquote

Epitaph in Bushey Churchyard, before 1860

Here lies a poor woman who always was tired, 

For she lived in a place where help wasn’t hired.

Her last words on earth were, Dear friends I am going

Where washing ain’t done nor sweeping nor sewing,

And everything there is exact to my wishes, 

For there they don’t eat and there’s no washing of dishes

Don’t mourn for me now, don’t mourn for me never,

For I’m going to do nothing for ever and ever.

Quoted in The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations, Oxford University Press.

Katherine Mansfield 

If you wish to live, you must first attend your own funeral.

Reverend W. Awdry

I should like my epitaph to say, ‘He helped people see God in the ordinary things of life, and he made children laugh.

Independent March 22, 1997

Frederick Buechner

Intellectually we all know that we will die, but we do not really know it in the sense that the knowledge becomes a part of us. We do not really know it in the sense of living as though it were true. On the contrary, we tend to live as though our lives would go on forever.

The Hungering Dark, HarperOne

George MacDonald

“You will be dead, so long as you refuse to die.”



He, the Life of all, our Lord and Saviour, did not arrange the manner of his own death lest He should seem to be afraid of some other kind. No. He accepted and bore upon the cross a death inflicted by others, and those other His special enemies, a death which to them was supremely terrible and by no means to be faced; and He did this in order that, by destroying even this death, He might Himself be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be recognised as finally annulled. A marvellous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonour and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.

On the Incarnation

Philip Yancey

The leading causes of death are self-inflicted — side effects of tobacco, obesity, alcohol, sexually transmitted disease, drugs, and violence. We need a transformation. We need the kind of personal and societal renewal in which Jesus-followers who bear the good news of God’s love and forgiveness could play a crucial role.

Vanishing Grace Study Guide, Zondervan.

George Eliot

O may I join the choir invisible

Of those immortal dead who live again

In minds made better by their presence; live

In pulses stirred to generosity,

In deeds of daring rectitude…” 

O May I Join the Choir Invisible! And Other Favourite Poems

Matthew McCullough

Once we’ve learned to see the shadow [of death], we’ll be able to apply the light of Christ.

Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope

Matthew McCullough

Death is not ok. By avoiding the subject of death, we act like that’s not true. And we shrink down the scale of Jesus’s victory to fit the world we live in now.

Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope

Matthew McCullough

Through death we may as well be nameless. We’re essentially waiting to be forgotten in time. But in Christ we are known, eternally, by the Father with the same intimacy and affection he has for his Son. . . . We wait, still, but not to be forgotten.

Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope

Matthew McCullough

Death spreads its poison through everything we enjoy because nothing we enjoy is ours to keep. Time passes, things change, and eventually everyone loses everything they love

Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope

William Stringfellow

Hope is reliance upon grace in the face of death: the issue is that of receiving life as a gift, not as a reward and not as a punishment; hope is living constantly, patiently, expectantly, resiliently, joyously in the efficacy of the word of God.

An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land, Word Books.

William Stringfellow

Hope is reliance upon grace in the face of death: the issue is that of receiving life as a gift, not as a reward and not as a punishment; hope is living constantly, patiently, expectantly, resiliently, joyously in the efficacy of the word of God.

An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land, Word Books.

John Koessler

God will not forget us either in the hour of our death. I confess that I hope the same is true of pups. 

Taken from The Radical Pursuit of Rest by John Koessler. ©2015 by John Koessler.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426. www.ivpress.com

George Herbert

Death used to be an executioner, but the gospel has made him just a gardener.

Fred Smith

It’s important, as we go along in life, to create thirsts that death will satisfy.

Leadership, Vol. 3, no. 1

Albert Camus

“Since the order of the world is shaped by death, mightn’t it be better for God if we refuse to believe in Him and struggle with all our might against death, without raising our eyes toward the heaven where He sits in silence?”

Tarrou nodded. “Yes. But your victories will never be lasting; that’s all.” Rieux’s face darkened. “Yes, I know that. But it’s no reason for giving up the struggle.”

“No reason, I agree. Only, I now can picture what this plague must mean for you.”

“Yes. A never ending defeat.”

The Plague

Jerry Seinfeld

I saw a study that said speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. Number two was death. This means to the average person, if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.

Charles Henry Brent

The first and best illustration of the effect upon personality of death is found in Jesus Christ. After his reappearance from the grave, he is unaltered in character, tone of thought, and fundamental tal relationships. What strikes one forcibly is the absence of anything thing like a break in the continuity of his personality.

Sermon: “The Last Great Adventure.”

Martin Luther

Christ lay in death’s bonds

given over for our sins,

He has risen again

and brought us life . . .

It was a strange battle,

that death and life waged,

life claimed the victory,

it devoured death.

The scripture had prophesied this,

how one death gobbled up the other,

a mockery has been made out of death.


Christ Lag In Todesbanden

Gerard Manley Hopkins

No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,

More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.

Comforter, where, where is your comforting?

Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?

My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief

Woe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing —

Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No ling-

ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief.”‘

O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall

Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap

May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small

Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,

Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all

Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.

No worst, There Is None, in Poems and Prose, Penguin Classics, 1985.

John Newton

I am still in the land of the dying; I shall be in the land of the living soon.   

John Donne

One short sleep past, we wake eternally;

and Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

John Piper

At funerals we sometimes lay quite a bit of emphasis on the fact that Christians never say their last good-bye. Death means we will be reunited with loved ones who have died in the Lord before us.

Taken from John Piper in Coming Home edited by D.A. Carson, © 2017, p. 59. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

Steven Wright

I intend to live forever.  So far, so good.

French Proverb

Fear and restlessness kill more than do illnesses.

Roger Rosenblatt

The problem with death is absence.

Emily Dickinson

This is the Hour of Lead—

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons recollect the Snow—

First—Chill—then Stupor—then the letting go.

George Eliot

It is a sad weakness in us, after all, that the thought of a man’s death hallows him anew to us; as if life were not sacred, too.

Phillips Brooks

There is not one life which the Life-giver ever loses out of His sight; not one which sins so that He casts it away; not one which is not so near to Him that whatever touches it touches Him with sorrow or with joy.

Martin Luther

Even in the best of health we should have death always before our eyes [so that] we will not expect to remain on this earth forever, but will have one foot in the air, so to speak.

Source Unknown

“Relax, none of us are getting out of here alive.”

Kevin (Tate Donovan)

“What’s the worst thing that can happen? We’ll all die, right?’

Space Camp

Alexander Schmemann

“Biological” or physical death is not the whole death, not even its ultimate essence …in [the] Christian vision, death is above all a spiritual reality, of which one can partake while being alive, from which one can be free while lying in the grave. Death here is man’s separation from life, and this means from God Who is the Giver of life, Who Himself is Life. 

Of Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974), 62–63.

Charles Wesley

God buries his workmen, but carries on his work

Maya Angelou

If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.

Billy Graham

All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in the years before I die.

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2011, p.4).

Mark Twain

Each person is born to one possession which outvalues all his others—his last breath.

Following the Equator (1897)


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