Both Life and Death Matter
Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” (Carl Sandburg 1878 – 1967)
I’ve always liked this quote even as it disagrees somewhat with the words of scripture which speak of the End Times. It does speak to the hope we often feel when welcoming a new citizen into the world.
This past week, as I was attending a memorial service for a friend, a dear Christian lady who had died at age 92, I received a text announcing the birth of my new great-grandson. In a way, the news of this birth softened the sense of loss I had been feeling. Also, this lady’s death was just one of three such deaths among acquaintances within the past week, four within two weeks. Of course, when most of your friends are seventy and up, you come to anticipate such events.
Nevertheless, the timing of the birth of this child was meaningful as it served to remind me of the nature of life, that we are living a temporary existence while looking ahead to an everlasting life in another and perfected world. This faith we hold onto enables us to make sense of the often difficult and, yes, limited time on this earth, while new life provides a glimpse into what is to come. And by new life, I am speaking not only of the newly born but also those who have come to a new life through the conversion experience of knowing and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
We are reminded in 2nd Corinthians, that “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:17-18)
Earlier, St. Paul also wrote: “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus.” (2nd Cor 4:13-14)
That we do not have to wait until we die to experience a new life is also attested by St. Paul in these words; “But have you not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:20 – 24)
This speaks to our relationship with our Lord Jesus, but we are not left to our own devices; God has promised to lead us and provide the strength to make the changes necessary to put off the “old man” in us and to embrace the new. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.. I will put My Spirit within you.” (Ezek. 36: 26 – 27a)
To summarize, I return to the words of St. Paul; “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him; -- Likewise you also reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:5-8; 11)
We know that life matters, -- but also, so do our deaths!
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