Posts tagged ‘Life’

Water and New Life

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When God is first ordering creation, He begins with a formless, watery blob:

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

But the watery blob does not last long. He separates the waters up above from the waters down below, and He separates the waters below into land and water:

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” … And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:6-8)

The separation of these waters eventually sets the stage for God to give life to human beings:

God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

When God rescues the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, they quickly find themselves backed up against the banks of the Red Sea, being pursued by the full force of the Egyptian army, and being terrified at the prospect of their impending slaughter:

“Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:11-12)

But then God steps in and redoes what He did at creation – He separates the waters of the Red Sea and forms dry land:

The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. (Exodus 14:21-22)

The separation of these waters sets the stage for God to rescue His people and give them a new life.

Over the past few months at the church where I serve, I have been privileged to witness and be a part of many baptisms. In baptism, God does once again what He did at creation and at the Red Sea. Waters are separated by pouring or dipping, and the separation of these waters is the stage on which God promises to give people life – new life as His children:

We were therefore buried with Christ through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4)

With water, God not only creates, He recreates. And He does so intimately – personally – for you. If you have not been baptized, now is your time! If you have been, give thanks to God for His creative work in you. It’s a beautiful gift of His love for you.

May 23, 2022 at 5:15 am 2 comments

Don’t Destroy Yourself!

Credit: Bartolomeo Biscaino (1629-1657) / Wikimedia

In the book of Exodus, the Pharaoh of Egypt seeks the destruction of the Israelites because they “have become far too numerous for us” (Exodus 1:9), and he is worried that “they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country” (Exodus 1:10). In response, Pharaoh issues an edict: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live” (Exodus 1:22).

It is at this time a Levite woman gives birth to a son and, at first, attempts to hide him so he might not drown in the Nile:

But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. (Exodus 2:3)

This brave mother follows the letter of Pharaoh’s edict to throw her son into the Nile, but with a twist. She places her son into a basket, and then places the basket with her son into the Nile. Famously, this basket boy survives and grows up to become Moses – the one who rescues the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt.

In a showdown with another Pharaoh of Egypt that takes place some 80 years after Moses was first placed into a basket as a baby in the reeds of the Nile, Moses and the Israelites find themselves backed up against a sea called the Sea of Reeds, which we know today as the Red Sea (Exodus 13:18), with Pharaoh and his army coming to destroy them. But just like God protects Moses from the waters of the Nile when he is placed among the reeds, God protects Israel from the waters of the Sea of Reeds by splitting them into two, so the Israelites can pass “through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:23). But when Pharaoh and his army try to pursue them, “the water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen – the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived” (Exodus 14:28).

Pharaoh sought the destruction of the Israelites by declaring that they must be drowned among the reeds of the Nile. But instead, he himself is destroyed by being drowned in the Sea of Reeds. Pharaoh’s berserk desire for destruction only destroyed him.

When we are slighted or hurt by someone, it can be easy for us to wish for – and, perhaps, even work for – their destruction – the destruction of their job, their reputation, or our friendship with them. But our desire for destruction – our desire for vengeance – more often than not, only destroys us. The bitterness and anger we harbor toward someone drowns our souls. This is why Jesus says, “If you hold anything against anyone, forgive them” (Mark 11:25). Jesus does not just say call for forgiveness in an effort to let someone who has upset us or hurt us off the hook. He calls for forgiveness to let us off the hooks of our own dangerous desires for destruction that will, if left unchecked, only destroy us. God doesn’t want our souls to get trapped in a vengeful Sea of Reeds.

So, who is God calling you to forgive today? Remember, forgiveness not only helps someone else; it rescues you.

And you’re worth rescuing.

April 25, 2022 at 5:15 am 2 comments

A New Genesis

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The Old Testament opens with these famous words:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In Greek, one word for “beginning” is genesis, which is why we call the first book of the Bible “Genesis.” It is a book about humanity’s beginning.

The New Testament opens with these words:

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)

In Greek, the word for “genealogy” is genesis. Matthew opens with a genealogy that describes Jesus from the beginning, which echoes the beginning described in Genesis 1:1 because, as John notes, Jesus “was with God in the beginning” (John 1:2). In other words, there was never a time – even in the very beginning – when Jesus was not.

But there’s more.

A little later in Genesis, we read:

This is the book of the generations of Adam. (Genesis 5:1)

What follows is a genealogy of Adam’s descendants, just like in Matthew we get a genealogy of Jesus’ ancestors. And the Greek word behind “generations” is again genesis.

But by Genesis 5, there is a problem. Adam has fallen into sin and has reaped the consequences of sin, including pain, struggle, and death. In other words, Adam’s beginning is now marching toward a tragic end. He will perish.

The story of Scripture, then, is that of a struggle and search for a new beginning that will not inevitably end in pain, struggle, and death. And in Matthew 1, the Scriptures show us that ever since the beginning of Genesis 1, God has been planning to give us a new beginning in Jesus Christ. Genesis 1 is not the only genesis we have. We have a new genesis in Jesus.

So, where do you need a fresh start? A second chance? A new beginning? What has tragically ended for you in this life? A relationship? A hope? A dream?

Christ takes your first beginning – the one we have in Adam – and nails it to a cross and exchanges it for another beginning that will not end. No ending in this life can stop what will endure eternally in the next life.

Now that’s the kind of new beginning we all need.

The end.

March 21, 2022 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

Meaning in Life

Credit: David Foster Wallace by Steve Rhodes / Flickr

David Foster Wallace’s final unfinished novel, The Pale King, describes a handful of IRS employees looking for meaning in life. One employee, Lane Dean Jr., seems to be particularly overwhelmed by the apparent tedious and utter meaninglessness of his job:

The rule was, the more you looked at the clock the slower the time went. None of the wigglers wore a watch, except he saw that some kept them in their pockets for breaks. Clocks on Tingles were not allowed, nor coffee or pop. Try as he might, he could not this last week help envisioning the inward lives of the older men to either side of him, doing this day after day. Getting up on a Monday and chewing their toast and putting their hats and coats on knowing what they were going out the door to come back to for eight hours. This was boredom beyond any boredom he’d ever felt. 

Lane Dean Jr. tries to browbeat his boredom into beauty by imagining a beach, full of sunshine and warmth, but after just an hour of work:

The beach was a winter beach, cold and gray and the dead kelp like the hair of the drowned, and it stayed that way despite all attempts.  

Lane Dean Jr. could not seem, try as he might, to conjure meaning in what felt to him to be a meaninglessness job.

Lane Dean Jr.’s struggle for meaning was a reflection of Wallace’s own intensely personal and desperate struggle. For all of his success as an innovative and creative novelist, who is still widely read and well regarded to this day, he too was on a search for meaning in life. But try as he did, he was simply not resourceful enough to create meaning ex nihilo in his admittedly brilliant novelsAnd his struggle cost him dearly as, tragically, he took his own life.

Wallace’s sad struggle with meaning in life is nothing new. It was King Solomon who once cried:

Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

Solomon, like so many others before and after him, struggled to see meaning in life. Indeed, the Hebrew word for “meaningless” here is hebel, which refers to a “vapor” or “mist.” Solomon knew that so much of the stuff in life that we tout as meaningful – our jobs, our successes, our paychecks, our social networks, and even our morality – always and eventually evaporate before our eyes. They do not and cannot be lastingly meaningful in and of themselves.

So, what is the solution to our futile and desperate attempts to create meaning in life? It is to trade our obsession to create meaning in life for a humble and sincere desire to seek the meaning of life. For life to have lasting meaning, meaning must come from somewhere beyond life and from something larger than life. Humans cannot create true meaning ex nihilo. Instead of being created, true meaning must be revealed. This is why Solomon, after declaring all human attempts to create meaning futile, concludes:

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 12:12-13)

People may write volumes upon volumes of books, as did David Foster Wallace, seeking to make life meaningful, but only God and His Word can provide true and lasting meaning. It is in His Word that the true and lasting meaning of life is revealed – to obey God’s commands and to be loved by Him even when we do not.

Is this the foundation of your meaning?

February 21, 2022 at 5:15 am 2 comments

Never Left Without a Blessing

Credit: “Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden” by Peter Wenzel (c. 1815) / Wikimedia

Reaping the consequences of sin is terrible and tragic. When Adam and Eve fall into sin, God proscribes many devastating consequences:

To the woman He said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam Je said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:16-18)

There will be pain in childbearing, pain in work, and eventual death. This sounds awful. Indeed, it sounds hopeless. But then, in the very next verse, we read:

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. (Genesis 3:19)

Eve’s ability to have children is notable, because God blessed people with the gift of children before they fell into sin:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28)

Even as God curses people because of their sin, He does not leave them without a blessing in their sin. Even though Adam and Eve will die, new life will come from them, resulting in, supremely, the birth of a Savior.

It can be tempting to believe, when we struggle with sin and experience and endure the consequences of sin, that God has forsaken us because of our sin. But as with Adam and Eve, even when we suffer under the curse of sin, God never leaves us without a blessing. He never leaves us without a promise of a new life.

Eve’s blessing was to be the mother of all the living. Our blessing is to be loved and blessed by the One who came from Eve and redeemed her – and us.

February 14, 2022 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

Not Much Lasts Forever

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Whenever I was encountering a tough time as a child, my mother used to remind me, “Not much lasts forever.” Though it was hard for me to believe or see at the time, she was right. The problems that seemed to be such a big deal when I was in grade school, middle school, or high school are now just distant memories – and, in many cases, not even memories at all. I have forgotten about most of the things I was once upon a time so upset about.

Perhaps the most famous story in the Bible of a tough time belongs to a man named Job. His story opens with him as the richest man around, but then, through a series of Satanic-inspired calamities, he loses his wealth, his family, and his health. He wonders out loud if he will even lose his life:

A man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As the water of a lake dries up or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so he lies down and does not rise. (Job 14:10-12)

As Job ponders death, he, at first, indicates that death would be a tough time that would last forever. When a person dies, after all, “he breathes his last and is no more” and “he lies down and does not rise.” Death, Job seemingly indicates, is permanent.

But Job is not quite done yet. After Job speaks of how a man, in death, “lies down and does not rise,” he continues:

…till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep. (Job 14:12)

Death, Job says, comes with a “till.” Death will last “till” the heavens are no more. But what about after the heavens are no more? The apostle Peter helps us:

The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10, 13)

After the heavens disappear, Peter promises that there will be a new heavens and a new earth – along with a new us. We will be raised from death. For, as my mother reminded me, not much lasts forever – not even death.

Job asks:

If someone dies, will they live again? (Job 14:14)

Peter answers Job’s question with a resounding, “Yes.”

November 8, 2021 at 5:15 am 3 comments

Too Young To Die

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One of my most sobering tasks as a pastor is participating in funerals. Every funeral is weighty, but those that are for someone who we would say “died too early” carry with them a unique set of challenges. A young child who passes away, for instance, leaves behind intensely grieving parents. A husband or wife who dies in the prime of life leaves behind a devastated spouse.

One of the starkest portraits of life and death comes to us in Genesis 5, which is a genealogy of the first humans. There is a refrain that comes up again and again as each person is listed, beginning with Adam:

Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:5)

Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:8)

Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:11)

Altogether, Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:14)

Altogether, Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:17)

Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:20)

Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:23-24)

Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:27)

Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:31)

The phrase “and then he died” evinces an inescapable reality: ever since humanity’s fall into sin, people die.

There is, however, a hiccup in this genealogy’s refrain with Enoch. The end of Enoch’s life is not characterized as “death,” but as being “no more” because God took him away (Genesis 5:24). His lifespan is also notable – 365 years. This is by far the shortest lifespan of anyone in this genealogy. Compared with lifespans as long as these, Enoch could easily be said to have been taken from this world too early. And yet, as C. John Collins reminds us in his book Reading Genesis Well in his comments on Enoch:

Apparently, there are higher values and rewards than simply length of days, and the text assumes that there lies something worthwhile beyond the grave for the faithful.

We can sometimes wonder why God takes certain people from us “early.” But, as Enoch reminds us, God taking someone is not an indication of a curse. It can be an indication of a blessing. This reality does not remove the severe sting of a person who passes young, but it does offer hope. What happened with Enoch can happen for them, too. They may be apart from us, but they are with the Lord. And anytime is a good time to be with Him.

July 5, 2021 at 5:15 am 1 comment

More Than a Memorial

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Today is Memorial Day. Today’s observances continue a tradition that began on May 5, 1868, when General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day of remembrance at the end of that month for those lost in the Civil war:

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.

Because General Logan called for the decorating of graves, his observance was called “Decoration Day.” Over time, Decoration Day came to be known as Memorial Day and was moved to the last Monday in May by an act of Congress in 1968 and has been celebrated on this Monday ever since 1971.

As Memorial Day encourages us to do, remembering those we have lost is critical. And like its predecessor, Decoration Day, reminds us, using physical objects – from crosses to pictures to flowers to flags – to help us remember can be healing.

The night before Jesus goes to the cross, He gathers His disciples to celebrate a final meal with them. As in Decoration Day, Jesus presents His disciples with some physical objects:

Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is My body.” Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

And as in Memorial Day, Jesus also encourages His disciples to remember Him:

“Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)

But this meal is more than simply a memorial with some tokens that help us remember a person we have lost. The apostle Paul writes that, when we partake of this meal with its objects of bread and wine, we are not only remembering with Christ, but communing with Christ here and now:

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16)

But how do we commune with Christ – indeed, even with His very blood and body – here and now?

If Christ had shared this meal with His disciples before He died and then remained dead, this meal would simply be a memorial. But He did not stay dead. Three days later, He rose. So we do not just remember Christ with bread and wine, we truly commune with Christ in the meal He has given us. He is our risen and living host.

Paul also writes:

We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16-17)

Paul reminds us that Jesus’ resurrection is only the beginning of something even bigger. Because Christ has risen, those who die in Christ will rise, too. And we will all be together again. Children who have lost parents in battle, parents who have lost children, husbands who have lost wives, and wives who have lost husbands will all be reunited. And Memorial Day will be needed no more. For on the day Christ returns, we will not just remember our lost loved ones, we will commune with them – and with Christ.

Today, let us take a moment to remember those who have given their lives in battle to protect and defend this nation. But let us also hope for the day when we will need to remember no more because we will be able to see those we have lost face-to-face. The headstones we visit today will one day give way to hugs we enjoy forever.

That’s a promise worth remembering.

May 31, 2021 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

Looking for a Messiah

The story of David and Goliath is a favorite of children’s bibles. It features a shepherd boy named David and a Philistine giant and nemesis of Israel named Goliath who fancies himself invincible. The Israelite army is so terrified of Goliath that no one will sign up to fight him. David, however, indicates his willingness to fight Goliath to King Saul, who tries to outfit David in his armor for the battle, only to find out that he is a 42 long while David is a 34 short. So David goes to fight Goliath with nothing but a sling and some stones. But with these unassuming homespun tools, the little boy takes the big bully out:

Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, David slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.  As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. (1 Samuel 17:49-51, 54, 57)

One of the fascinating features of this story is not just that a young boy kills a towering warrior, but how David does it – he does it by striking Goliath in the head. The author of 1 Samuel seems to be quite taken by this because he uses the word “head” or “forehead” five times in these verses. Goliath’s head is so central to the image of David’s victory, that he carries the head around!

When Adam and Eve fall into sin, God curses the couple, but He also curses the one who tempted them into sin – Satan, who appears in the form of a snake. God warns Satan that there will come an offspring of Eve who will one day defeat him. But what is striking about God’s curse is not only that this offspring will crush Satan, but how he will do it. God says to the snake:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

The offspring of this woman will crush Satan’s head.

This promise from God led the ancient Israelites to look for the fulfillment of this promise – someone who would come to save them from the sinful mess of this world by crushing the head of their enemies. They centered their hope around what they called the “Messiah,” which in Hebrew means, “anointed one.” The Israelites were looking for someone chosen and anointed by God to save them.

One chapter before the story of David and Goliath, God chooses a new king of Israel, who, unbeknownst to Saul, is Saul’s replacement. Who is this king? The giant-slayer David. God sends his prophet Samuel right before David kills Goliath to anoint him as the next king of Israel:

Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. (1 Samuel 16:13)

Just a chapter later, after becoming Israel’s new “anointed one,” David crushes the head of Israel’s greatest enemy with a stone, which begs a question: Could David be the one? Could he be the Messiah?

We know from the rest of David’s story that he was not “the one.” The one who crushes Goliath’s head with a stone is crushed by his own sin when he has an affair with a woman who is not his wife and then has her husband murdered to cover up their relationship. David may have crushed the head of Goliath, but the head of the ancient snake was still spitting its poison of sin and death. The Messiah who would crush Satan’s head was still to come.

So often, when we see amazing people do amazing things – as David did with Goliath – we wonder: Could they be the one? Could they be the doctor who wipes out cancer? Could they be the politician that fixes our nation’s ills? Could they be the soulmate who mends our heart? Could they be the financial advisor who makes us rich? Could they be “the one”?

David’s story reminds us that there is only one who is “the one.” Placing our hopes in the wrong one will eventually and inevitably lead to disappointment and anger. Placing our hopes in Christ, however, will lead to salvation and peace. He is the one we’re looking for.

May 24, 2021 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

Why We Need Easter

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In an article for The Washington Post, Emma Pattee writes about how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us face-to-face with the reality of our mortality:

You probably remember where you were that day in March when you first realized that the novel coronavirus was something …

I remember where I was: driving to the gym for a Mommy & Me boot camp.

I pulled up to a red light and locked eyes with my 6-month-old baby in the rearview mirror. I felt unsettled and scared. I had an inexplicable urge to go home, and also to call everyone I knew and check on them. Yet nothing had happened. I was safe, healthy and employed. At that point, in mid-March, I was more likely to die of a car accident than of contracting covid-19 …

That eerie uncomfortable feeling has been described as grief. As fear. Or anxiety. But Sheldon Solomon, a social psychologist and professor at Skidmore College, has a more robust explanation: It is the existential anxiety caused by reminders of our own mortality.

Simply put, to function as a conscious being, it’s imperative that you be in denial about your impending death. How else would you go about the mundane aspects of your daily life – cleaning the gutters, paying the bills, sitting in traffic – if you were constantly aware of the inevitability of your own death?

Ms. Pattee goes on to cite studies that have found that we seem to be hardwired to fear death and to avoid thinking about it:

neurological study was published in 2019 about a mechanism in the brain that avoids awareness of a person’s own mortality and that categorizes death as something unfortunate that happens to other people. …

An Israeli study showed some participants a flier about death anxiety and others one about back pain. When subjects were then offered an alcoholic beverage, one-third of the death flier group bought alcohol vs. one-tenth of the back-pain group.

We don’t like death. And the day we celebrated yesterday – Easter – gives us an answer as to why.

Scripture’s story is that we were created not to die, but to live. But when our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into sin, they reaped the wage of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23). But this wage disordered the way creation was designed to be. It was designed to be filled with life – not marred by death.

Our dislike and fear of death, then, can be rightly said to be a yearning for the way we know things “should be.” We should not have to mourn the loss of our loved ones. We should not have to struggle and suffer through a pandemic. We should not have to endure horrific acts of violence that lead to death like wars and mass shootings. We should not have to deal with death. We can sense that dealing with death is, in some way, profoundly unnatural.

This is why we need Easter. Easter is the beginning of a return to the way they were always supposed to be. As Timothy Keller puts it in his book Hope in Times of Fear:

The resurrection was indeed a miraculous display of God’s power, but we should not see it as a suspension of the natural order of the world. Rather it was the beginning of the restoration of the natural order of the world, the world as God intended it to be.

In other words, death is wrong. Resurrection is right. Life is what the world was designed for, which is why it’s what we yearn for. And our yearnings will be fulfilled.

Christ’s resurrection is not only a feat against death, but a forecast that death will not have the last word. Christ’s resurrection, the apostle Paul says, is a “firstfruits” of our own resurrections (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Christ is risen, we will rise. And death will die. This is the message and the promise of Easter.

I hope you celebrated Easter well yesterday. And I hope you’ll hold on to all that Easter is today – and every day.

April 5, 2021 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

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