Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A New Creation?

I’ve been reflecting on death lately. First, a friend of ours passed away from cancer at way too young an age, leaving behind a husband and baby. Then, a young man I performed a wedding for committed suicide, leaving behind a wife and small child. One death was a drawn out tragedy. The other, an angry, impulsive act.

As a Christian, I have hope in the resurrection to eternal life. In fact, Christians reaffirm this belief each time we gather for worship and say the Apostles’ or Nicene Creeds.

But, I keep on thinking how unbelievable the resurrection is. A lifeless body not only revived, but renewed. Eyes re-opened. Breath restored.

The bible promises that God is renewing the whole world. And we are part of that renewal. Jesus’ resurrection was the beginning of the world restoration, where God is making all things new.

And this is true of J and J (both the deceased’s names begin with J). I think of the cancer victim longing for life. And then the depressed young man, putting a gun to his head. But God’s promises are for both of them.

Yet, still. I have a hard time imagining their eyes opening one day. But then again, that’s the challenge of faith. Some call it a “mystery.” I prefer to think of it as hope. Some may dismiss this as false hope. But then again, what’s the alternative?

I spent last week reflecting, meditation on life and mortality, wondering how we, as human beings are different from the rest of creation. That we, somehow, are spared the eternal oblivion of death.

And I began to ask, “Are we any different? Does our consciousness spare us an eternity of nothingness? Are we unlike the trees that fall and disintegrate into the ground? Or the fish that get eaten by seagulls? Or the flowers that wilt and become part of the soil?”

The bible says, No. We are all mortal. We will all die. “All flesh is grass.”

Remember that you are dust. And to dust you will return.

But then again, the bible also talks about the New Creation, where God renews the world. The bible’s a little light on the details but the promise is clear, God is already busy raising the dead, bringing life in all its fullness.

That’s the promise I have keep reminding myself of again and again. Even though I can’t comprehend it, doesn’t make it any less real. I can’t say I cling to this promise. I can only say it clings to me.

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