A Matter of Life & Death

These past few weeks I have been simultaneously surrounded by life and death. One of the joys of living on a farm is seeing Nature’s cycle give life. 2 baby chicks were born. The mother hen has kept careful watch over them. The first night she literally covered them with her wing for warmth and protection. Meet Lois & Layne:

I am reminded of Jesus Christ’s words:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” [Luke 13:34]

This past week I have spent a bit of time at hospitals offering prayer, comfort, and presence to congregants at the church, as well as their relatives. This same week 5 years ago I was a patient in the hospital finishing my last round of chemotherapy. What beautiful timing and a gift to be restored to being on the giving end now. This week, 5 years later, I technically enter remission from cancer. This week, 2 people I know, though not really close to, have died.

In Christian thought, death is never seen as the final destination, but is closely coupled with life. Think of the seasons. The death winter brings makes space for the life spring brings. Jesus’ death made way for the miracles of His resurrection & ascension.

“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” [Matthew 28:1-7]

The death of my former life makes way for the birth of a new life. Jesus’ death made way for our way to spiritual life.

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [2 Corinthians 5:15-17]

You don’t have to be a Christian, Christ-follower, to live on in memory or legacy in regard to people you leave behind. In order to live on with the triune God in Heaven, I offer these verses:

“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” [John 14:6]

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” [Romans 10:9-11]

“The disciples were astounded. Then who in the world can be saved? they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” [Matthew 10:26-27]

By contrast, death & life complement each other in opposites. Each leads to appreciation and understanding of the other.