Life and Death
Looking into the face of death is reality and it's a part of life we strive to avoid, ignore and forget. But I look at it regularly. Most often it's around the corners of an older person who waits for the comfort and peace of death as if it's a long lost gift. I like the character Burgess Meredith played in Grumpier Old Men when he talks about feeling like God forgot him. I see that often in my ministry. Lately we've been watching the slow death cancer creates as well. That's like watching death stalk the life out of someone slowly and without dignity or grace. Death has many faces, but it is always the same conclusion to the story of this life.
For people my age...any age actually...we try not to think about death. We are still young enough to think ourselves exempt and to look at younger people who die as tragic. There was a car accident yesterday that made the news...2 cars of teenagers. 3 died on the scene. It's considered tragic, but it's still death flashing in suddenly, without warning.
Truth is that death is part of life. We try to make it an enemy or controlable, but the truth it that it is part of life. It's probably one of the most natural parts of life actually. It's the end of this life.
I've been with people when they die and the process is amazing to watch. It can be gentle and beautiful and quiet. It's not scary. I've seen babies born as well....death is much like that. It's about beathing....those first breaths and those last breaths. The struggle to be born, the struggles of life and the journey to death.
To think that God decided the best way to explain....example....demonstrate...the love God has for us was through death is wordless. To choose the thing we resist as the message of forgiveness, grace and love is like having the walls of the box torn off and the world changed.
To journey to the cross without looking at death is not a complete journey. To look at death and to see the love of the cross is to see beyond death into something greater....life!