Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Death

I'm on sabbatical the whole month of July and part of August. But so far, it's been weird. It has certainly not been a relaxing time emotionally. Three people with whom I'm connected in some way have died during the past two weeks. I participated in two of the three funerals. One person was a member of my church about whom I posted a few days ago. Another was my father-in-law. Both these deaths were expected at some point, but that doesn't erase the deep sense of loss. Then, tragically and unexpectedly, the wife of a friend of mine took her own life last weekend.

I'm not just sad, I'm angry.

These events remind me why the Bible calls death our enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). Jesus was enraged and "deeply moved" by the death of his good friend Lazarus. Death resulted from the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan and their subsequent fall into sin (Genesis 2:17).

The good news is that when you put your trust in Jesus, you need no longer fear death. You have eternal life, both now and even more fully in the future. What is more, upon the return of Christ, death will be abolished, thrown into the lake of fire along with the author of death (Revelation 20:14). On the new earth there will be "no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

Perhaps better than anyone else, C. S. Lewis captured what it means to believe that death is but the doorway to eternal life for the Christian. At the end of The Last Battle (the final book in the Narnia series), Aslan tells the children,
"Your father and mother and all of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadowlands - dead. The term is over; the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: This is the morning...." [And Lewis continues,] The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And as for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Even though C.S. Lewis is a fallible man, I absolutely love the way he attempts to convey the message of truth through literature. It is very poetic and beautiful.