Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Death where is thy sting?

"Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it," was the advice of W. Somerset Maugham. I disagree. In the Christian tradition, and that of many other religions, death is actually a joyful occasion, even though it certainly stings.

Many people that I know have recently died. All of them happen to have been Christians, and several of them clergy. They were convinced that life was not ending, just changing. Yes, it is very sad when someone we love won't be around to interact with us. I'm not saying it isn't, or that it is unchristian, but Jesus Himself wept at the grave of his friend. The celebration of a person's life, is the happier and more joyful way to approach this. Indeed, a fried who just died, left his instructions: "Please, as few tears as possible. Remember the many great times we shared, and look toward to our eventual reunion in Heaven with joyful anticipation. Kindly smile a lot, too."

T. S. Eliot said "I had seen birth and death but had thought they were different." Are they different though? When someone is born to their earthly life we always rejoice, and it is said that we should do they same, when they are born to eternal life. What is there about a loved one that made you love them? What moments did you share that were special?

Saint Paul said "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" That might not be the most reassuring thing he ever wrote, but in his letter to the Romans, he gives us a blessed assurance that takes away all of our fears when our mortal life is over. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Remember those who are no longer with us. Rejoice in having known them. Hold your fond memories and even share them with others. Look to the day when you too will be born to eternal life and you will be reunited with family and friends, and be thankful.

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