Death Be Not Proud…a post by Jim

Maybe it is because I feel my own mortality more clearly. Maybe it is because I am more sensitive to the life that God intended us to have. Maybe it is because I’m simply scared. Maybe it is a combination of the above and other things of which I am unaware. But whatever the reason, I am having a hard time when someone mentions that a parent died.

It happened again last week. Someone told me that their dad had recently died. Their words slammed my soul. I knew him. He was a good man. Somehow he got himself out of a difficult home situation when he was young. Somehow learned a trade and got married and had a couple of children. Somehow he got his kids through college. He loved and served Jesus as best he could. Then cancer came and took him in a gruesome way before he had a chance to enjoy his grandchildren. And we simply say, “My dad died a couple months ago” and try to move on. It seems to me we ought to scream at and curse death and continually grieve over what it does to those we love.

Disease and death are enemies. While we can battle them we cannot conquer them. They eventually win the war with each of us. That makes me angry. They are cruel enemies. They mock and belittle us. They are the worse bully one could ever encounter in life. And we cannot turn the tables and destroy them before they destroy us.

But thankfully that changed with Jesus. The early church saw his life, death, resurrection, and ascension primarily in terms of conquering the grave so that we could be in fellowship with the eternal God because we are IN Christ. I like that focus. While I cannot beat death I can at least revel in the fact that death will die. That makes me draw close to my Savior in heartfelt thanksgiving and deep appreciation. Death does not have the last word because of him. Thanks be to God. Amen

Greetings!…a post by Tom

Matthew 28:9 (ESV)

And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

The first word of Jesus after his resurrection is hello. He has been betrayed, beaten, abandoned, crucified, and buried. When He rises from the dead and meets the scared and disoriented women He says…hello! The Greek word for greetings is pregnant with joy and energy. Jesus has no victim mentality or revenge seeking mindset. His mindset is one of greetings and joy.  His second words are “do not be afraid.”

A recent study has shown that people who say hello to others live longer. Somehow the simple act of reaching outside one’s insulated self for connection is beneficial. It is a way of being open instead of closed. The open tomb shows us that in Christ we have nothing to fear. Jesus’ resurrection has triumphed over sin, death and evil. Our attitude toward Life can be that of openness and hello regardless of how confused and disoriented we feel. Greetings when we are unsettled, greetings when we are weak, greetings when we are imperfect, greetings when we fail, greetings when we are ordinary, greetings when we feel useless, greetings when we are an outsider, greetings when we are suffering, greetings when we feel stupid. God comes to us disguised as our life, and in Christ we can say…”hello!”