United Church of Christ

Life and Death

"There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest." - Job 3:17 (KJV)

Among the faithful, death has always held a certain fascination and a certain attraction. Upon the death of a friend or loved one, we often say things like "She's gone to a better place" ... or "He's moved now from labor to reward." To be sure, the more we suffer in life, the more appealing death becomes.

In the book of Job, death never sounded so good. In stark contrast to his miserable life of sickness and sorrow, Job sees death as a place of rest and reprieve from evil and evil doers. Death is the great equalizer among struggling commoners and opulent nobility. Death is complete liberation for those who have been subjected to the enslavement of dehumanizing systems.

In a real sense, Job's death wish is actually a desire for everything that Job is lacking in life.

What do we call a person who believes that the best way to live is to die? I think the answer is: a Christian.

There is no ‘born again' experience without the death of old perspectives and patterns of living. In Baptist Church polity, the baptismal pool itself is a symbol of a watery grave into which the believer must be completely submerged. The Apostle Paul testified, "I die every day."

Is death a means of escape from the world? Or is death a means through which we engage the world?

At an ecumenical conference delineating the decline of church attendance and involvement in America, a Presbyterian Bishop declared, "I welcome the death of the Church as we know it in the U.S. The sooner we die, the sooner we can be resurrected."

Prayer

Lord, please let the death of my selfish pride outlive the death of my body. Amen.

ddkensamuel2012.jpgAbout the Author
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.

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