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25 August, 2007 (9:26pm) | Blog

Note: I do not pretend to know anything about death. No one close to me has ever died, thank God. This blog is just some thoughts I have about grief, and hope. Along with an aside about faith. If anything I say is irrelevant or false concerning this subject, please correct me.

(dĕth) n.
1. The act of dying; termination of life.
2. The state of being dead.
3. The cause of dying.
4. A manner of dying.

The dictionary doesn’t know a thing about death.

We as humans have an innate fear of the unknown. We don’t know what is going to happen when we die; whether it will be painful, or pleasant; conscious or ignorant; light or dark. Is there something waiting for us on the other side? Or will it be a void?

As Christians, we have a hope that the world does not have. An assurance of the unknown. We know that Christ has promised us an eternal life with him. And we have even more than just hope: we are actually able to look forward to departing from this world!

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.”
-2 Corinthians 5:1-2

Of course, we can’t go around killing ourselves just because we want to get to heaven. Our time on earth is short lived and we must strive to make the best of what God has given us.

“So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
2 Corinthians 5:9-10

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
Philippians 1:27

Sufjan Stevens, in his album Come on and feel the Illinoise!, sings a song of a loved one who died from cancer of the bone. The song treats the event as, probably, the saddest thing that ever happened to him, but the music is almost joyous. Reminiscing about the detailed memories of the light on her shoulder blade, or running outside with her shirt tucked in, and her shoes untied, the singer gives these seamingly meaningless memories a sense of absolute meaning.

“In the morning, through the window shade
When the light pressed up against your shoulder blade
I could see what you were reading”
Casimir Pulaski Day, Sufjan Stevens

It is the ultimate love song between a man and woman, because she is dead. He has no reason to try to make the song romantic, because he isn’t singing to anyone. He is singing from his heart. Happiness, sadness, hope, and longing are some of the emotions he goes through. At the moment in the song where the news breaks that she has died, a chorus of horns break in, giving the song joy, and triumph.

Shouldn’t we grieve in the same way? Shouldn’t we be joyful when our beloved leave this world? On the other hand..

“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”
Ezekiel 18:32

Should we be joyous? God doesn’t take pleasure in death, why should we? Death came upon man after the fall, and death shall be no more after Christ returns.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:4

Why do we have to die in the first place? Death was a part of the curse man brought upon himself by rebelling against God. But Christians, being washed by Christ’s blood and being new creations, are no longer under that curse. Every single time Jesus was in the presence of a dead person, he raised them from the dead. He didn’t accept death…

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
John 14:12

..why should we?

“Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”
Philippians 4:1

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