Tag Archives: Charles Coghlan

All the Active Verbs Belong to God

Story of the Day for Monday March 26, 2012

All The Active Verbs Belong to God

                     Because God is wealthy in mercy, he loved us with an overwhelming love.  And, when we were dead in our sins, he made us alive in Christ.  
Ephesians 2:4-5

You would think that, having heard it all my life, I would be used to it by now.  Yet, it is still a continual source of amazement.  At funerals, friends reminisce about the loved one in the coffin.  They say things like, “Well, I’ll tell ya, if anyone’s going to heaven, it’ll be him. What a great guy.”

Have you noticed the language?  It’s all in the active voice.  They paint the image of a corpse deciding to crawl out of the coffin and confidently striding to the gates of heaven with a long list of earthly accomplishments in hand.  Then the angels usher him in – grateful to grant a halo to such a wonderful human being.

Of course, I’m not so boorish as to say what I’m thinking, “He’s dead.  It doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere on his own power.”

Our righteousness has no power. If it did, then at the funeral, we should invite the corpse to rise up out of the casket, and join us for a game of pinochle.

I can be as good as a boy scout with two dozen merit badges, but when I die, my goodness cannot buy me another breath.  Once we’re dead, we’re all completely helpless.  If we go to heaven, it will not be because of our goodness, but God’s.

The Canadian actor, Charles Coghlan, lived in a small village on Prince Edward Island.  Born there, raised there, he planned to be buried in that same town on the sea.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  In 1899, while touring in the States, he died in Galveston, Texas.  He was placed in a lead-lined coffin and buried in a granite vault.

In September of 1900, a fierce hurricane hit Galveston, flooding the cemetery.   The storm broke Coghlan’s vault and the coffin floated free into the Gulf of Mexico.  Eventually, it bobbed its way around Florida and was caught in the Gulf Stream.

Eight years later, in October, 1908, fishermen spied his coffin bobbing off the coast and brought it to shore.  There they recognized the man’s name engraved on a metal plate.  Charles Coghlan’s casket had floated back to Prince Edward Island – just a short distance from his native town.  His body was re-buried in the village where he was born.

What did Charles Coghlan do to free himself from his Galveston cemetery and return to his beloved Prince Edward Island?  Absolutely nothing.  He was helpless.  He may have been a good man, but his goodness did not budge him an inch.

God wants us to understand that the active power in raising us to life belongs to him.  And he doesn’t raise people who think they’re good; he brings those to life who trust in him for mercy.

All the active verbs belong to God.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)