Wednesday, August 21 2019
Faith in God is not an escape from reality. Faith in God is a plunge into reality in all its dimensions, and not the least of these realities is death.
- Eugene Peterson
I came across those words while reading through Peterson's excellent book, Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers. His words reminded me that Christian faith is not an escape - even though some of the great skeptics have argued it was. Some versions of how people use or misuse faith may try to be that escape, but the Christ story we find told in the Bible deals directly with death - particularly with the death of Jesus on the cross. For the Christian, the final word is not death, but resurrection, new life, and hope. However, that does not mean we get a free pass when it comes to experiencing the end of this life. We will all face death - the end of this earthly life - before we experience resurrection.
Recently, one of our church members was talking about howimportant it is for the church to talk openly about death. She shared her own story about her struggles to find a way to do this. Most people do not want to talk about death. But I believe we can deal with the end of life challenges better if we know more about them -- whether we are doing this for ourselves or for someone we care about. This learning happens best, not only by hearing from those who have more experience than we do. It also helps to be with others like us - our peers.
Neal and I are focusing on this theme in our Pastors' Class beginning this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. We are calling it Peering Into the Sunset: End of Life Challenges for Today. The idea of "peering" is not only about looking down the road to try to discern what is coming. It is also about doing this with our "peers" - those like us who are trying to find our way. This class is for all ages and stages of life, so join us this Sunday as we begin this journey together!
Prayer for Today
God of the ages, you know our beginnings, our endings, and all that happens in between. Give us the courage to face the challenges of life and even death. In the strong name of Jesus, the resurrected Christ, we pray. Amen.