Monday, November 2, 2015
A hard day. . .
Death is not normal or natural -- except in the most cruel and bitter of senses. Unless we are ready to consign all of life since the Fall to realm of eternity, we live in terrible tension with the reality that we experience and the grief that we bear now and the new reality that forms our hope and the joy of the future to come when we are reunited with the faithful in everlasting light and life. Death sucks. It hurts not to have a father -- whether you are a little child or a man approaching retirement. It hurts to feel the loneliness of those who once surrounded and defined your life now gone.
There can be a kind of mercy in death -- when God allows death to end the long suffering of those whom we love -- but even this mercy is not without its pain and loss. God knows this. Precious in His sight are the death of His saints. He knows first hand the wound of grief when His one and only Son stood alone to carry the suffering of the cross and to be marked for a death that should have been ours. When Jesus shed tears for Lazarus, He wept for God over each of us and for all who die. While there is comfort in this, the answer to our grief and our pain lies not in the fact that God acknowledges our wounds or knows the sharp pain of death first hand. No, it lies in the fact that unlike us, God has done something about it. He ended death's triumphant reign and opened the grave. He died never to die again and He lives triumphant over death as the first born of those who still sleep.
Our hope lies not merely in the fact that God knows how hard it is but rather that God will reach down into the earth and bring forth those who have died and give to them the life that was not theirs until He gives it to them. That is why creation groans and our hearts ache. We know the outcome of the faith but in the tension of already but not yet we yearn for the finish of that new creation, of the blest reunion with those who have died in Christ, and for the glorious flesh that Christ already wears.
If you, like me, have carried grief in your hearts. If you hate death and what it has done to what God made to be perfect. If you lament the sin that gave birth to its ugly and brutal son called death. Pray for the finish of His new creation, for the culmination of all that He has promised, and for gate of death to pass through as once did all who died in Christ. And live in Christ, close to the Church, fed and nourished by the holy food of Christ's flesh and blood, showing forth the good works of Him who called you from darkness into His marvelous light. For the night will soon be ending, the dawn cannot be far. God dwells with us in darkness and makes the night as day. Though we resist the brightness and turn from God away, His grace does not forsake us, however far we run. God claims us still as children through Mary's Infant Son.