I Hate Death

I hate death. I feel sad. I feel lonely. I feel scared. I don’t like it. You probably feel the same way. Sometimes I wonder how God can allow something like that to happen to someone. Why did they have to go so young!? For whatever reason I think that something bad has happened to the one who has died. I feel hopeless. I feel hopeless because I cannot change things. I cannot bring the person back. I cannot take the grief away. I cannot eliminate the sorrow of others. There is nothing I can do. It’s almost like death has won. I hate death.
We had communion this morning, and it reminded me of something very important. Communion reminds us that in the midst of death, there is life! Christ died for us! He experienced death. His Heavenly Father had to let His Son die. At that moment, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, and He paid the debt that all people owe. For the first time, our Heavenly Father knew separation from His Eternal Son. It was unfair. It was wrong. At that moment death had won.
But that is not all that communion reminds us. It reminds us that in the midst of the darkest time of all of human history, there was life. Christ did rise from the grave. He did walk amongst His loved ones once again. He did go to sit once again next to His Father. Death did not win.
Finally, there is Good News for you and me. It is one thing for the Son of God to have this victory. In this world, earthly rewards are often obtained by who you are or who you know. The fallen state of this Earth guarantees disappointment. Success cannot be promised. We will experience failure, disappointment, and pain. But Jesus did all that He did so that we could have victory. Communion tells us that in the midst of death, there is life. Because of Jesus’ death and because of His victory over it, we now have access to that same victory. We have the hope of life even in the midst of death. We can know that death will not have the ultimate blow on our existence and it will not be the defining moment for us. No. For us, death is something that will merely be a momentary experience that transitions us to eternal life. No, death does not win. Jesus already did and life was His reward, a reward He graciously shares with us.
We might not understand tragedy. We might miss those who are gone seemingly too soon. But one thing we know: God is good, God is just, and God is gracious. We are given something greater than what the darkest thing that this fallen Earth dishes out. We are given life even though we have earned death. We are treated far better than what we deserve. When we see someone taken from us early, we don’t have to feel sorry for them if they have followed Jesus. They are now experiencing the reward that was secured for them by Jesus Christ. The promise of their faith has been realized. They are experiencing life like never before! So what do we do? We celebrate them, their faith, and our Savior! We rejoice that Christ’s reward is theirs! We take comfort in our Hope, Jesus Christ.
Where is mourning? It is still there. We still have to wait for the full realization of our faith. We have to wait to be united with all of those who have gone before us. So we do what everyone does. We mourn. We miss them. We remember them. We are sad. But that is not all that defines us. We mourn as those who have hope. We mourn knowing this is not the end. This isn’t it. Not only have they won but we have too, and not because of our own merits, but because of Christ’s victory and gracious towards us. In the midst of death…there is life!
This is what communion reminds us every time we participate. This is the message of the Gospel. This is Good News!
-Pastor Jeff