Death and dying have been my point of contemplation lately, which makes sense since it was this week about 2,000 years ago that Jesus began his journey to the cross.
There he would die to provide a way for renewed friendship with God. This was on my mind when my son, Elijah, asked about dying stars and dying in general, while we drove home from school. I saw a gospel moment.
Do you know how fast our sun is dying? My seventh grader does, and he is concerned for the earth. “Mum, what if the sun dies while people are still on earth?” he asked. I said, “The God who made the sun close to the earth, then placed people on it, is able to sustain the earth while we remain on it — though we need to find ways to protect the gift of earth God has given us.”
“But what if it dies, Mum?” he said.
Then we enter a new state of living,” I replied.
This response brought a weird look from all four of my kids, and I began to explain what I meant. I told them that I know next to nothing about dying. I have never actually died, so if I am wrong, forgive my ignorance.
As I wrote this piece, the sweet smell of the frankincense oil filled my nose. That’s like my life and yours on earth, a burning incense. Whether sweet smelling or noxious, it is fading. However, we are also eternal since we are all created in the image of the eternal God. You will either live eternally with God or without him.
Fading here on earth merely changes your placement on living. We get sad when those we love stop living before our eyes because we will miss them, but they still live beyond the ability of our eyes to see.
James 4:14 (ESV) says, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
So, this week, as we remember the death of Jesus, our Messiah and friend, remember that unlike vapor he died, but he did something extraordinary; never done before or after, he rose from death. He died to give life, then rose up from death and continues to sustain life.
Shalom Liddick is the co-lead pastor of Resurrection Life Church in Marana, Arizona.