Bruce Kramer wrote an exquisite book before he died from ALS. When you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, you know how your life will end – sort of. You cannot know the timeline of how the symptoms will reveal themselves. You cannot know which friends and family will be resilient and which will crumble. But you pretty much know that it’s ALS that will take your life.
There is a note in my phone and a document on my laptop that says: “If I Die in 2015 . . .” It’s the annually edited note to my loved ones about which hymns I’d like everybody to sing at my memorial service, whom I’d like to preach, and what I’d like somebody to read out loud. (Yes, I have written a message for my own memorial service because I’m bossy like that.) If you happen to be with me when I die, check my phone.
All of us are going to die. We know how this life of ours ends – sort of. Most of us don’t know the particulars about how. Even if I were diagnosed with stage 4 cancer today, I could get hit by a truck tomorrow.
We also do not know what happens after we die. There are scientific details about what happens to our bodies after death. But what happens to our souls is a matter of faith. I know my body will die one day. I believe my soul will live on by God’s grace.
We know how Good Friday will end, and that makes it less than catastrophic for followers of Jesus because Sunday is coming. [Once when I was volunteering at a Suicide Hotline on Good Friday, a caller sobbed that Jesus was dead and I let her cry for a long time. And then I said something like, “Can you hang on for 2 more days?”]
Death = Bad. Resurrection = Good. And yet we call this Friday good.
We can’t have resurrection without the death. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that we forget this.
May your all your deaths be holy ones.
Art is White Crucifixion by Chagall.