death

This changes everything

On good Friday, it seemed that for all that Jesus was, he was just a man. He had given sight to the blind, and healed the lame, and preached the good news to the poor and raised the dead, but was still just a man, and suffered and died like the rest. He cast out demons, walked on water, taught with authority, was transfigured on the mountain, and was the messiah, the Son of God, but at the end of the day, he was but a fragile, mortal man, destined for the grave.

Sunday changed that. Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. He suffered pain, defeat, and death, as one human in common with us all, and he rose victorious. It was by his weak, mortal flesh, that God entered our greatest battle, and defeated it from the inside. Out of love He joined us in our darkest hour, and by His love He illuminated and broke the darkness of death.

And he was one of us. A human rose from the dead. And not only one of us, but the one who promised we could live in him, and he in us. The night before he was killed, he took bread and wine, and gave us his body and blood, for our food; that we may abide in him, and he in us; that as he lives by the Father, we may live by him. This is the one who left death in the past.

All history, all humanity, all life is changed forever. Death is not final; Love is. God is victorious. Every moment of life, is illuminated by the hope of the resurrection, and we live liberated from death. When death is overturned, what could hope to be left unchanged?

Christianity is no mere religion, no mere philosophy, no mere way of life. These are footnotes of life, and particular systems of living. They are no more than after-thoughts and add-ons. But Christianity fills, permeates, enlightens and enlivens all of life. Emmanuel: God is with us; this is my body, which is given for you; Christ is risen. Christianity is life transformed and fulfilled by accepting God’s offer of Himself.

Happy Easter, and may God bless you

The Deaths of Strangers

Do we care when a stranger dies? I know we do, sortof. But it’s hard. There are so many strangers dying all the time, that we can’t mourn all of them, all the time. And, of course, we don’t know them to mourn them. I think this explains the everyday carelessness to those dying of hunger, thirst, AIDS, murder, genocide, or abortion.
Joseph Stalin is quoted as saying,

‘One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.’

I’ve heard that Stalin killed millions of “his own” people, so he may not have meant it this way…
I recently considered the value of life, and how it seems to change. Killing a baby is atrocious, nearly all agree (though in some countries they are often killed just for being female). Killing an unborn baby, is apparently not so clear in the eyes of many. Even pro-life Churches and groups do not act as I think people would if adults were similarly killed. Are they worth less even to the pro-life? Does their worth increase until birth, then decrease as they age? What determines the value of a human?
I’ve concluded, that a human being, endowed with a soul, has a constant value from beginning to end. The apparent change is based only on how much you know them.
The problem with abortion, in this regard, is that the baby is a complete stranger to nearly everyone, except a slight relationship with his/her mother and (to a lesser extent) father. We don’t know any like them, so we can’t even mourn by imagining who they are like.
It takes more imagination to consider their death. You can consider it as a soul, or yourself as the parent-to-be.
Deliberately trying to empathize with strangers is important. We must know they are our brothers, so we can treat them as such. We need to understand the statistics by feeling the tragedies.
I believe it is only when we mourn properly that we will act properly in the face of mass tragedy.
God bless you.

P.S. I mentioned the killing of babies based on gender earlier, and it’s so important I felt the need to provide some more info. If you want to learn about this, visit 50 million missing by clicking here.