There was a fire-and-brimstone preacher who looked down sternly at the worshipers in the pews and said: “Every member of this congregation is going to DIE!” It was to the preacher that everyone had a very somber expression, except for one person. A man in the front pew had a big smile on his face! The preacher’s face grew red and looked squarely at the man in the front pew and said, “I repeat! Every member of this congregation is going to DIE!” The smile on the man’s face grew even brighter! This prompted the preacher to ask the man directly. “May I ask you what you find so AMUSING in my statement that everyone in this congregation is going to die?” The man replied, “I’m not amused. I’m relieved. You see, I’m not a member of this congregation!”
I admit it’s a very silly story, but when you get right down it, the preacher was right. Everyone of us is going to die. Though I’m not considered a “fire-and-brimstone” preacher, I said this very thing in a recent sermon. It needs to be said. It’s part of the cycle of life. But there needs to be more to life than realizing we’re going to die!
We celebrated Easter very recently. Easter is time to celebrate that, beyond death, God offers life to us, ETERNAL Life. Easter means that God loved the world so much that he gave us Jesus, who would sacrifice his life in order to offer to us the gift of Eternal Life. Resurrection is a gift of divine love. At Easter we celebrate: God has loves us and offers us life!
We ought to celebrate Easter more than one day a year. We ought to think of the truth of Easter everyday of our lives.
Faith in Jesus Christ is not only about our moment of death and eternal life. Faith in him is also about living this life in faith. Before we die, we’re called to live, and we’re called to live by loving. We do this because, as the Bible says: “We love because God loved us first.” The resurrection of Jesus calls us to love, because we have first received divine love.
Sorry to say, love sometimes dies within us. It happens. We get selfish. We get self-centered. We get ourselves derailed and off-track. We get disconnected from God. Love can die. But please don’t forget, with God’s help, love can be resurrected in our lives.
At the Last Supper Jesus told us the KIND of love expected of his followers: “A new commandment I give you: love one another as I have loved you.” He goes on to remind us that the way he loved us was by laying down his life for us. God is calling us to sacrificial love.
So yes, every one of us is going to die and, with faith, we will enter eternal life. In the meantime, let it be said that, in faith, every one of us is going to LIVE! Let it be said that every one of us will LOVE! We can only do this by the power of God’s life and love. Will you embrace and receive that life and love now?
Live well, my friends. Live in Christ. Love well. Love in Christ.