So I just got word that an old friend from high school and college killed himself last week.
Obviously, my heart goes out to his family. I didn’t really know anyone that knew my friend and didn’t like him. He was absolutely brilliant, but he was so kind that you would never know it unless you got him near a computer. Then you would realize that his brain functioned on a different plane – he was *that* good as a programmer and thinker.
What I can’t help but think about right now is how much I hate death. I absolutely hate it.
Whether I am mourning and grieving along with everyone else, I am ministering to the family and friends of the deceased and officiating a funeral, or even if I am just doing the music for a memorial service, I am always struck by how much I hate death.
It was never really meant to be this way. Death is a curse on humanity. Granted, it is a deserved curse… but it is a curse nonetheless.
My fear is that, in our attempt to alleviate the pain we feel when someone we know dies, we try to explain death away. “It’s natural – just a part of life” or “God took them home” or “God wanted them in heaven with him” or some other nonsense. The Christianized versions of these statements aren’t actually Christian. Did you know that? The concept that God brings people up to him in heaven and that is where they reside forever doesn’t come from the New Testament. It comes from Plato and Socrates.
The Christian response to death, and my response to my friends death, is that I hate it. A lot. I feel sad and angry.
Now, that isn’t the end of the story, of course. Just like when Jesus died, that isn’t the end of the story. It’s odd that we call Good Friday good, when in fact it was a dark day for humanity. In and of itself, there really isn’t anything good about it.
But then Sunday comes, and there is Resurrection. New life. Physical life. The literal reversal of death itself.
That, my friends, is death redeemed. What is powerful about Christian spirituality is that I can call a bad thing bad. Death is bad.
But God redeems, just like he did on Sunday…