Today is our Gran’s birthday.
And a month and a half ago we walked among tombs of familiar south Louisiana last names. We located our own family names carved into stone.
We went to bury her — their mother, my grandmother — and to cry together. We remembered something that I think she knew well: her life was not ending but instead changing. The change left us sad for us, but rejoicing for her.
I hate it and rage against it. As Nancy Pearcey says, “Death rips apart what God intended to be unified.” Namely body and soul, which were meant to be one.
At the death of Lazarus, Jesus felt some sort of furious indignation (according to the Greek) at the tragedy. What tragedy? I would imagine not only the passing of his friend but also seeing the reality of his creation broken by death.
This was not part of the design. And we feel the pain of it deeply. Death is not to be celebrated.
Yet at the same time, I feel a familiar acceptance of death. It is our lot for this time on earth and we are headed for it, wrinkles and all.
Death is a door, a seed, and — most importantly — death is conquered by Jesus. Literally no match for Jesus Christ. And he is not far removed from our suffering.
He brought his own body back from the dead and he’s bringing us and our bodies and creation along with him.
“The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21)
Death. I hate this thing that we were not designed for. But with Christ, it is not my greatest enemy and somehow it’s okay to embrace our mortality for the time being.
So we grieve, we hug, we cry, we lament the ripping apart. Yet with hope and freedom in Christ who went ahead of us. And, of course, we LIVE joyfully in the here and now!