Summary: What is the one thing that you’re scared of? If you’re like so many other people you’re answer is death. Death. No one wants to face it. No one wants to think about it. For years even the medical community has been uncertain of how to deal with death. Hum
Operation Immortality: Mission Impossible?
Easter Sunday: April 15th, 2001
What is the one thing that you’re scared of? Think about that for a moment…I mean what is it that really frightens you? Perhaps it’s something you think of regularly or maybe it’s something you’d rather avoid.
A week ago today, we were headed to the Flying Tigers restaurant in Buffalo and were headed east on the 90. I had the cruise control set at about 62 MPH and suddenly a black Jeep Cherokee flew buy us as if we were sitting still. I said to my wife, “That guy’s just asking for trouble.” I estimated he was going close to 90 MPH. Only three to four miles further on down the road the traffic began stopping and everyone attempting to get into the left lane. As we moved on we could see people standing in the center lane and there on the pavement was a young man who was not moving. In the grass over to the side of the interstate was the Cherokee that had just passed us. It had obviously rolled over and all of the windows were broken out. My wife began to cry as we were certain he was not alive. There was nothing we could do at that point as people had already stopped and so we continued on, praying that he would somehow survive.
Survive he has, as far as I know. The news said he sustained serious head injuries and was in serious condition. Sean is his name, and he is only 24 years old. But he came so close to ending his life last Sunday.
Why do we do such things? Why do we flirt with death? It seems as if we live in a culture where young people think they are immortal. People drive like this young man did with no thoughts of the consequences involved. Young people carry guns to school and threaten to kill others with no thought to the consequences of their actions and words. We live in a culture which does not choose to take death seriously. And in so doing we underestimate the value of human life.
Listen to me folks: the values of our young people came from somewhere. You can’t just sit back and say, “What’s wrong with these youth that they think they can bring guns to school or build bombs to kill others.” Their values were inherited, whether intentional or not. Perhaps they are as they are because their parents have chosen to ignore death, to ignore the consequences of death.
Let me go back to my initial question: what is the one thing that you’re scared of? If you’re like so many other people you’re answer is death. Death. No one wants to face it. No one wants to think about it. For years even the medical community has been uncertain of how to deal with death. Humanity has come a long way in their technological advances, we can transplant hearts, do brain surgery, extend a person’s life considerably, but there’s one thing that human beings still do not have the ultimate power over, and that’s death.
Ponce de Leon came to our continent searching for the Fountain of Youth, why? Because he wanted to live forever, as we all do. We want to continue to live because we’re afraid of what happens when we stop living. What will happen when it comes our turn to be taken away to the undertaker? It’s frightening!
The attempts to have victory over death continue. It’s expected that by Christmas of this year the first cloned human being will be born. Can you believe that? We are so concerned with continuing our lives that now we want to duplicate ourselves as if we will have accomplished something in the long run.
It’s as if we’re in the midst of a project to find immortality. Let’s call it “Operation Immortality.” We’re searching. Medical advances are great. The life expectancy, I’m told is climbing quickly and I was told by one medical expert that before long the life expectancy could be between 120-140.
It seems as if this operation could be labeled “impossible” because no matter how long we’re able to extend our lives, the truth is we will still one day die whether at age 60 or 140. How much are we really accomplishing?
And so, at this point in history, scientifically speaking “operation immortality” is “mission impossible.” Our bodies will give out, we are mortal. We’re all going to die someday.
And so where does that leave us? Afraid. And guess what? You have a reason to be afraid. There’s reason to wonder what’s after death. There’s reason to be scared. But the good news is there’s also reason not to be scared.
You’re here this morning to celebrate something extremely important, and something which our culture desperately needs: hope. Hope in life. Hope after death.