Thursday, March 28, 2013

Death all around us!

We are obviously reticent to talk about death.
Yet, Good Friday it cannot be escaped.
St Paul spends much of his writing in the letters
explaining to Christians
why Jesus died
what we imagine God might be doing by allowing this to happen.
Some of this theory and theology
is difficult to understand
and doesn't resonate easily
in today's world
What Good Friday does speak to us
is that death cannot just be brushed aside.
The very importance with which we take it
even the difficulty we have understanding it
speaks volumes
about why we should take it seriously?
St Paul in writing to the Philippians about the Death of jesus
tells us that God is not playing games with the universe,
the sign of this is that Jesus enters the human condition
in its absolute state
to the point of death.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that it is not as if we have someone who is not able to understand suffering
but rather one who suffers as we do.
This is the image of the crucified Christ,
he identifies with us
and shares our suffering.
We cannot take suffering away but we can stand alongside others in solidarity

So it is at the death of others
without being trite
we cannot control this experience
or make it go away,
it rattles us to the very core of our being.
But we discover when our mother, father, sister, friend or child
that we are some how able to be more human
Death touches our humanity and transforms us.

It is very easy when we look around the world
to see so much death in the world and to turn away from it,
but none of us misses the injustice of what happens to Jesus
we should not avoid making the connexion
that there is cruelty and injustice like this in our modern world.
In so far as we turn our backs on this
we are missing the message of Good Friday
that we need to face up to death and suffering.
It is perhaps a great temptation for us in Australia to dismiss the suffering of those elsewhere.
Or to lack compassion when some reach our shores.
Or simply say that none of this is my business.

Is the motivation for death-denying simply
that it confronts me about my own death?
If we understand nothing else about Good Friday
is that we do not defeat death by ignoring or avoiding it.

there is no Christianity without crucifixion
people do not stop dying because we hope desperately that they will not
cruelty and injustice
will not stop if we just try to wish it away.
As we face our own mortality
we will discover that we are destroyed as a person,
but rather enriched
enlivened and deepened.

This is very serious stuff.
But this is very Good!

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