Our society is being forced to face up to things it has long hidden from. We’ve always hidden our mortality well, in hospitals and hospices and care homes. It’s not just teens who believe they are immortal, as a society we’ve lived as if we all are. We’ve lived as if we never have to reckon with death. Suddenly we are being confronted with it like never before outside of wartime. Here’s the question each of us is having to face – what is my hope in the face of death? How are you going to answer that question?
As death and infection rates scroll across the bottom of your TV screen. As the experts warn of the dangers if we don’t follow the precautions being put in place. How are you reacting? Are you still in denial? Do you still think it won’t touch anyone you love? It was easy to pretend that was the case when this was geographically distant but now it is here and so many people still seem to be in denial.
This is going to touch every community, it is foolish to pretend that isn’t the case. We can no longer hide from our mortality. So let me ask again have you reckoned with it?
As those who follow Jesus we should be different, but lets be honest we so often fail to be. Now is a chance to be different. To scrutinise God’s word for what it says about our hope in the face of death. For too long we’ve believed the lie, cleverly crafted, that to be too heavenly minded is to be of no earthly use. But now more than ever we need to hope, the boldness that comes from knowing that the wages of sin – death – have been paid for by Christ.
Can I encourage you to wrestle with John 8v51-52 and John 11 and the transformation that trusting Jesus brings. He is the resurrection and the life. To grapple with Romans 5, 6 and 8. To drink deeply of 1 Corinthians 15. So that we can echo Paul in Philippians “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”
It is not that we welcome death, we don’t run towards it in some macabre way. But we are not afraid of it, we face it knowing it is not the end, it is a toothless enemy, it’s venom has been drawn by Christ. And so we have hope, hope of eternal life, hope that illuminates the life we now live, that energises it, that lights up the dark and drives away fear. It matters more than ever because many in our society our friends and family and colleagues are terrified and we have a hope to pass on, but only if we know what that hope is.