Death Comes Quickly

no cementaryBy now, no doubt, we are all weary of the seeming avalanche of celebrity reports in the news related to the high profile deaths in Hollywood as of late – Jackson, Fawcett, McMahon, Malden, Mays, Travalena, Storm… These deaths bring to mind the quick passing time scroll that we call life.  In some ways we think that time is paralyzed in movies and pictures and with those whom we haven’t seen in quite some time. How often have you run into someone you haven’t seen in years and suddenly find yourself in shock that they look so different?  Time is the ferry that waits for no one.

God tells us that our expiration date has been sealed in heaven for “there is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven–A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Eccl.3:1-4)  While our end is fixed we are not given the hour or day of our departure (Deut. 29:29); instead, we are firmly told to redeem the time we are given here on earth wisely for we do not know what tomorrow’s events may bring.

As James tells us in his epistle, “…you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that. But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.” (James 4:14-16)

jazz funeral

Thinking that tomorrow is ours is evil. Not acknowledging God’s providence over each inhale and every exhale is arrogant boasting. Our lives are indeed in His hands.  As we age, we become acutely aware of our inevitable stop. Our ‘vaporism’ is revealed. Skin loosens. Bones ache. Our frailty is made more and more evident as we ante up more frequent co-payments and attend more frequent funerals. The ferry plows on.

Death’s immediate impact on us is directly proportional to how close it is to us relationally.  The impact of a Sudanese dying in England whom we’ve never met is not even close to the impact of our spouse or parent passing. According to the U.S. Census bureau, there are approximately two and half million deaths per year in the United States – that’s five deaths per minute.  Interestingly, we don’t live as though this is the case; taking each day more precious than the next.

As you continue through your activities this weekend, remind yourself of these passages and another truth from the book of Ecclesiastes – It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart.” (cf. 7:2)  May we take life to heart as the gift that it is and may we continue to warn those who are in danger of losing it forever.


About ostrakinos

Pastoral sojourner in the world. Raising up four daughters. Citizen of earth. Resident of heaven. Taking ten looks at Christ.

Posted on July 2, 2009, in Cultural, Doctrine/Theology, Experiential / Application, Meditation/Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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