Have you ever wondered about how you will leave this earth? Illness? Accident? Simply a last, calm breath from a well-used and mortal body? Have you ever wondered what the face of Death will look like?
I have. Although many folks I know have had these same thoughts and ponderings as they face tumultuous conditions, my moments of contemplation are from a perspective of relative ease in both my physical and mental being. And perhaps from the human tendency to try to find a dark lining to even the wispiest of clouds.
On this Easter Sunday, I join my Christian sisters and brothers around the world in celebrating the ultimate victory over death. I believe that a Galilean carpenter was the incarnate word. I believe that he walked this earth as a man. I believe that he brought a totally counter-cultural way of living to us all. I believe that he broadened the family of God by making it possible for all people to be accepted into the kingdom. All people. I believe that he brought grace to a planet consumed with a love of judgment. I believe that Jesus was sacrificed as an intimate showing by God that people who love should do things differently. I believe that my Savior, Jesus Christ, was raised from the grave on the third day. I believe that, as he promised, he has gone to prepare an eternal dwelling place for those who believe.
I believe he is risen. He is risen, indeed.
Yet, as I glance through the news stories that bombard us daily about massacres and atrocities against children, women, and men of all faith origins, I do wish that there was a judgment and an iron fist that would stop all of those things. And I wish that the absence of that violence would open the rest of us to a life of giving and helping.
Even though the ugly things of this world are frightening and sickening, I need to remember that my role in this is to release all things into the soft and tender hands of God. Through the sacrifice of Christ, he has shown us that great power comes from the death experiences. Indeed, life and hope are best understood in the dark shadow of the valley of death.
Through the gift of the Savior, I know that I can gaze steadily into the face of Death without fear. In fact, because of the life and the hope we are promised, I feel certain that Death will tremble in that moment.