Summary: There is hope for life after death
Death is the great leveller - we will all die! Rich and poor, black and white, young and old.
Someone once said that nothing is certain in life except taxes and death. Trouble is a good accountant can always find a way round taxes, but we can't cheat death.
George Bernard Shaw said "the statistics on death have not changed. One out of one person dies."
Worldwide there are 56.6 million deaths a year - that works out at around 2 per second.
In our summer survey "What hurts the most?" death and bereavement came out second. For one in eight people in this area it's the biggest area of emotional pain in their lives. Some were specific - loosing a child, watching a spouse die of cancer, seeing friends blown up in battle.
Does death win?
Science can't give us an answer for what's next.
So there are lots of ways we try to cheat death, stop it coming.
Pursuing health and fitness.
We spend billions on health care and keeping fit. Parkrun is growing with numbers of us who have gone from Couch Potato to 5k! Arthur Lydiard the father of modern jogging and an athletics coach used to run 200 miles a week. He was healthy to the age of 87 when he collapsed and died of a heart attack. He couldn't hide from the inevitability of death
Living in denial
By dancing with death - jumping out of perfectly serviceable aircraft, paragliding or kite surfing. Or just avoiding the subject altogether. Using different words for it - snuffed it, kicked the bucket, shuffled this mortal coil. But try as we might it will still find you.
Apparently Simon Cowell would like to have his body frozen cryogenically just in case, science progresses enough to bring him back "I think it's a good idea. I have a feeling that if I don't do it know, I could regret this in 300 years time!"
The apostle Paul talks about our bodies like tents groaning for something more after death.
The last time I camped was attempting to bivoauc with Katie under an ex Army basha. It rained so hard, it was raining horizontally and my sleeping bag was soaked! Our bodies are like tents. They wear out, they sag, they expand, they wrinkle, the joints get creaky, the arteries harden, gravity pulls everything downward, the heart slows down, the eyes grow dim, the teeth fall out, the back is stooped, and the arms grow weary. Our bones break, our muscles weaken. The body bulges in the wrong places. We brag about our strength but a tiny microbe can kill us. Sooner or later we grow old and our bodies begin to break down. Eventually they stop working altogether. No amount of Vitamin C or Siberian Ginseng can change that fact. At best, we can only slow down the aging process; we cannot delay it forever.
it's not just the thought or fear of our own death that causes many people pain, it's bereavement. The pain of having lost those close to you.
perhaps the shortest sentence in the English language and definitely the shortest sentence in the Bible is contained in John 11:35 "Jesus wept"
Why? Because his friend Lazarus had just died and the grief of that and loved ones overwhelmed Him emotionally.
Jesus wept and his tears speak to us. Does God care? Jesus wept. Does our pain matter to him? Jesus wept. His tears speak far more than a thousand words of a God who cares, a God who knows you, a God who loves you and a God who weeps.
if you are grieving profoundly now, then those two words are really important. Jesus wept. Sometimes actions speak louder than words. And sometimes we don't want words. Jesus' presence and knowing that he is moved with compassion and weeping with you are powerful. He cares for you , He loves you and He weeps with you.
A lot of man struggle with crying. Seeing it as a sign of weakness. You are wrong.
Jesus wasn't just this nice guy with a halo and a beard, crying with people. He is a warrior who came to fight death and defeat it.
Jesus defeats death the enemy
Death is an enemy. Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth tells is that it is the last enemy.
Jesus came to face down death and defeat it.
He said "i lay down my life - only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord."
Some people have chosen when to die, but no one can choose to come to life again. Jesus made that claim- he chose to die, for us, and he chose to rise from the dead - defeating it.