Sunday, August 9, 2009

Death is a Part of Life

This morning, let us take a look at something that so many fear, Death. Why do we have to die? Do we spend our life in preparation of Death? What was the plan for the Son of God and Death? Are we afraid of it?

Where does the idea of death come from? Possibly, from Gensis, where Adam and Eve fall from grace caused by the snake or from the Death of Abel.

As we grow up from a child, we experience death all around us. Our frog or dog dies. Our elders die and sometimes, our parents or peers die. Someone tells us that they have gone to heaven and try to explain the cycle of life and death. The past week, many dead leaves have already started to fall from the trees as part of Natures life, death and rebirth cycle.

It may be hard for the child to understand all this. The smell of flowers may become associated with Death from the funeral or memorial flowers. Some children will not understand why their loved ones are put into the Earth.

Somewhere later in the child’s life, an understanding grows.

In many Christian churches, we learn the Bible stories including the Christmas story of Jesus Christ birth and then in Easter, just a few months later, the story and pagent of the death and resurrection of Jesus. How Jesus goes to prepare a place for us. We are taught to set our goals high, to live the commandments, to live a righteous life, to be baptized so we can enter Heaven when we die. Sometimes we fall, yet God helps us up and with Grace, forgives us of our errors.

Part of our life is lived in fear. This is in part what the Bible stories of the Hebrews in the Old Testament teach. There is another side of fear it is of respect for a higher being. The respect we give to our Father and Heavenly Father.

Many people fear judgment day when they die. They have the image of going before God as a judge and possibly sent to Hell. I’m reminded of a funny movie with Albert Brooks and Meryl Steep called: “Defending your Life”. Have you seen it. There are many books that describe what happens when we die. We were required to read numerous texts in our ministerial studies. One of my favorite was “Through the Gates of Death”.

If you have taken God, or Jesus or the Holy Spirit into your heart, have been baptized and have found salvation, you no longer fear death. You know you are a child of God. You have the gift of eternal life. This is the promise of Christianity.

You aren’t waiting and fearing. You have God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit walking with you and watching over you. You have access to all God’s abundance and Grace in your life. “God blesses you all the days of your life and you will live in the house of the Lord forever”, as David tells us in the 23rd Psalm.

You know that Death is not an ending of everything. It is just the ending of this physical body which can only last so long. It is a relief to let go of the old failing body and to return home. It is the beginning of a new journey with God.

After speaking in DC last week, Sherry and I went to visit the woman who sold me our sailboat at Sibley Hospital. She had just delivered her first child, a little girl named Stella Mira – Star of the Sea in Italian. Stella and the birth of all children give us new hope of life to unfold. Have you ever noticed how them seem to glow with Spirit? They have just come from God and still have God’s presence within them unspoiled by the Earthly journey. What a joy they are.

In closing, do you have an endgame or exit strategy? Are you prepared to return home?

Maybe over the next few weeks, you can pray and meditate on your own death. Are there things you want to do? Is there some forgiving needed? Is there some sharing or giving you want? How prepared are you? Are you working on your destiny, your life’s plan?

Take some time too to pray and commune with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. You will be lifted up and filled with joy and Love.

Celebrate every day of life, as it is a gift from God to you and those you love.

God bless you