Dead or ALIVE
This year has been a year in which I have encountered death more than usual. For many of you, this too has been the same. The most significant has been the death of my grandmother. For years, she had suffered and endured pain and for years she was yearning to be in God’s presence, alongside her husband and many other friends and family. This is one of those times in our lives when we desperately want to cling to Christ and his love for us. Watching a loved one slip away day by day does not come without it’s tears. But we see that in the hope of Christ, there is rejoicing, knowing your loved one will enter eternal rest. I’ve often wondered what it is about the human nature that longs for that loved one to stay in our presence. Is it selfish desires, the reality they are not a part of our every day lives, the thought of carrying on without them. It’s a difficult state to be in. Yet in Jesus Christ, when we recognize the loved one has made Jesus Lord of their lives, it’s victory, it’s a feeling of relief knowing they will not be any more pain. It is a celebration of a life well lived. It doesn’t totally erase the grief we experience but it certainly provides a sense of peace. I believe it makes living this life even more powerful to see others come to Christ. Not only to see others come to Christ, but to see our own lives as new and inviting.
We turn to Matthew 9: 23-26. “When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he said “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put aside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.” – Matthew 9:23-26
To us, death can appear to be the end because we look at it from one side of the mirror. But to Jesus, death is a doorway that can swing both ways. To him, waking the dead is as easy as rousing someone from a late afternoon nap. That’s why he called death “sleep.” To him, the only thing permanent about death is the judgment that follows it. And it isn’t just the physically dead that Jesus is an expert at awakening.
According to Ephesians 2: 1-2, all of us are dead in a much deeper, more spiritual sense: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world.” Our spiritual selves need to be awakened. For all of us have followed the ways of the world. We see all around us the impact of media, the influence of peers and yet Christ calls us to a different way of living; set apart, as aliens and strangers in this world. This is not our home. We are just passing by and impacting lives for Christ.
Before we can enter heaven, each one of us needs to be brought back from the dead. As John writes, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Getting to know Jesus is the only way to receive eternal life.
I leave us with this challenge. If you’ve never experienced that new life, it’s never to late. Turn to him. Believe in him. You’ll never be the same again. The time for mourning is over.
The time for dancing has arrived.
No matter where you find yourself in your walk with Christ, take the time to pray and seek His wisdom. Take the time to read His Word and grow deeper in knowledge of the greatest love ever given through Jesus. Seek others to come alongside you to take you further in your faith walk. It has been a real honor to serve in various capacities as we awaited God’s chosen one for our Lead Pastor. I appreciate your patience and your endurance through this time. You have each been gracious and compassionate, stepping up to serve in ways you may never have before. For this, I give you thanks. It is wonderful to know God is moving in our midst. Pastor Eric and his family are a true blessing to this congregation. God has been faithful and a new chapter at BVCOB has been opened. Might we grab tight to the love of Christ and journey together, making a difference in each others lives and the lives of those in our community. Peace and love.