You know, we talk a lot about death. If you get the right answer you’re “dead on,” if not, you’re “dead wrong.” If you’re late you’ve missed the “deadline.” The battery is “dead,” the line is “dead,” and then we come to a “dead end.” And I imagine many of us have experienced the moment when, in exasperation, we have said (or thought) “this/he/she will be the “death of me!”
But we all know death is a serious thing, something we will all experience; and yet something our culture holds at arm’s length. Unlike much of the world, our experience of death is most often mediated through the computer or TV screen, printed materials or in a funeral home or church service where there is an open casket. Even then, few dare to touch the body of the deceased. And there are those of us who have been present at the time of dying, an experience that can be fraught with guilt and anger, disbelief, relief and even joy and hope.
Since the beginning of time God’s people have struggled with questions about death: What happens at the moment of death? Is there such a thing as a soul and if so where does it go? What exactly is resurrection? What about cremation? Is there a heaven? What is it like? Will I really be with my family again? What about those who have hurt me? What is eternal life all about?
Folks will continue to ask these questions until the end of time. However, I believe it is time to again to probe these important questions. To this end, Anya and I will be preaching a sermon series during Lent on biblical understandings of death entitled: Hope in Facing Death. Although this may sound a bit gloomy, my desire is that it will be an uplifting experience for all of us. Here is an outline for the series:
Sunday March 10: What does Bible say about death? From where Does it come? What exactly is it? Is it good or bad or somewhere in between?
March 17: Different ways the Bible talks about life after death?
March 24: Death and hope of judgment.
March 31: Death and the hope of heaven.
April 7: Death and the hope of resurrection.
April 14: We will conclude the season of Lent with our special Palm/Passion Sunday service as we walk with Jesus through his last days in scripture and symbol.
I hope you will join us during Lent as we explore death through the lens of the scriptures. Through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit may it strengthen our faith, embolden our hope and ready us to live lives of love in Jesus Christ.
In joyful expectation of that coming day, Shepard