Sorry friends, it’s been a while since I’ve written. I had such grand aspirations – then life happened.
I had two funerals this week, hospital visits to an entire family from my church in a very serious auto accident, and an elderly gentleman in the congregation whose cancer treatments took a turn for the worse. I’ve been, rightfully so, rather preoccupied by death this week.
I’ve stopped fearing death. Please, that doesn’t mean I want to die; I love life and want to keep on living. But I have overcome my irrational fear of dying.
I say it’s irrational, because, as Christians, death is nothing to fear. For the longest time, I was afraid of death, of dying, and was paralyzed with fear over saying the wrong thing to people whose loved ones had died (as you can imagine, this isn’t a good fear for a pastor to have). I don’t know where my fear came from, it could be from the fact that I didn’t have a lot of experience with death until my first pastoral call.
Regardless, I no longer fear death – not now that I understand how Christ has conquered death.
It used to be that death was seen as the end of life, a departure from the living, the payment of natures debt. The wages of sin is death… when this life is over, there is no more to be said. That’s what death used to be.
Now, in Christ, death has lost it’s sting, it has no power over us. Death is nothing more than putting off this perishable, mortal existence, and putting on the imperishable, immortal life with Christ. We cannot live in eternity without laying down this life. We exchange this existence for a greater glory; to live is Christ, to die is gain.
This does not negate the fact that when someone we love (a parent, grandparent, child, or spouse) we will feel great loss and sorrow. The more we love someone, the greater the void we will feel. Jesus dignified this sorrow; he did not rebuke Martha when she criticized him for not keeping Lazarus from dying, he even wept at the death of his friend.
Still, do not lose hope, remember your faith. We do not grieve as the world grieves, as those without Christ. For we know that death is but the passage into eternity with Christ. For the dead in Christ shall rise first, and we shall meet them in the air.
I don’t remember where I came across this – but I thought I’d pass it along:
The world pictures death as coming to destroy; let us rather picture Christ as coming to save. The world thinks of death as ending; let us rather thing of life as beginning, and that more abundantly. The world thinks of losing; let us think of gaining. The world thinks of parting, let us think of meeting. The world thinks of going away; let us think of arriving. And as the voice of death whispers “You must go from earth,” let us think hear the voice of Christ saying, “you are but coming to me!”