I heard it said once that a Pastor’s job is to prepare people for death. St. Paul would remind us that since we share Adam’s DNA we also share in his fate. The problem we have as human beings is sin and sin, like it or not, is deadly. A therapeutic culture may not like the word sin – it sounds so dogmatic and stodgy.
We might feel better about the whole thing if we used words like “mistake”, error in judgment” or even “failure to reach our full potential”. It seems to me that is akin to calling a land mine a party-cracker or cyanide a sleeping pill. The sin problem is a deadly one and the sad truth is that until Jesus comes to reclaim all that is His, nobody gets out alive.
Is there then any way to deal with this death business? Yes! The Pastor’s job is to announce that something has been done about the scourge of death. Jesus has broken death in two pieces over His knees. His tomb is empty and because we are connected to Him, we will live. The furious love of Trinity once breathed air and ate food and walked with human feet across miles of earth. He has closed the mouth of the ravenous monster that pursues us all. Because of Christ, we live.
We make one incredible, audacious claim to world. At every funeral, we throw down the gauntlet to death. The enemy may not have this body forever. My spirit will be will Jesus and my body will rise again. Death could not keep my Jesus in the grave and by His grace and power it will not, it cannot hold any of His children. Easter morning is but a preview of your future, Christian. The love of God and the wounds of Christ are greater than death. Though we grieve and cry and mourn our lost loved ones, there is more grace and more hope than we can possibly comprehend.
Life that is found in Christ never ends. And thus, we prepare ourselves for death. My Lord lives! Despite my faults, my flaws, my sins, my hurts, my Christ Jesus lives and so then shall I. Even when I draw my last breath and close my eyes in this world, it shall only be a moment and then I, and you Christian, shall open them again to a love never ends and will not let us go.