THE MEANING OF DEATH
Dying, Christ destroyed our death.
Rising, Christ restored our life.
Christ will come again in glory.
Here and now, dear friends, we are God’s children.
What we shall be has not been revealed,
But we know when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Those who have this hope purify themselves as Christ is pure.
Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection and I am the Life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet shall they live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. I died, and behold I am alive forever more, and I hold the keys of hell and death. Because I live, you shall also live."
Let Us Pray
O God, who gave us birth, you are ever more ready to hear than we are to pray.
You know our needs before we ask, and our ignorance in asking. Give to us now your grace, ;that as we shrink before the mystery of death, we may see the light of eternity.
Speak to us once more your solemn message of life and death.
Help us to live as those who are prepared to die.
And when our days are accomplished, enable us to die as those who go forth to live, so that living or dying, our life may be in you, and that nothing in life or in death be able to separate us from your great love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
In the presence of mine enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
John 14:1-10a, 15-21, 25-27
The Bible says many wonderful things about the death of a Christian. But the trouble is that we don’t believe these things. We think of death as an end to all things good. We think of death as a time of separation. We think of it as a hideous monster come to cut off all our joys.
But the death of a Christian is a wonderful thing. Suppose you were in a prison camp where you were persecuted and beaten every day, where you had nothing to eat but a dry crust of stale bread every day and you had to sleep on the cold, damp ground every night. Then suppose some army friends came in and rescued you and took you to a place of rest and good food and happiness. Wouldn’t you consider these rescuers as good friends?
Well, we ought to look upon death in that way. We live in a cruel world, a world of many hardships, injustices, trials, tears, sorrow, and separations. Now when death comes to take us into the presence of the Lord, where we shall have perfect health and perfect rest, wouldn’t you say that death is, after all, a good friend? We look upon death as an enemy, but really death takes us to a better place.