This past Sunday we continued our exploration of the integrated life. Sean looked at "what it means to live so that we are grateful for death." The trajectory of every human life ends with death at some point. Death, even though it is inevitable for all of us, isn't something that we in America are comfortable talking about. We aren't comfortable with the unknown that death brings. What we don't know, we can't control, so it scares us and we try to evade it for as long as we can.
God, however, invites us to another way. He shows us through the life of Jesus an alternative way to cope with the fear death brings. Jesus was confident in the love of the Father, confident in His union with Him, even, and perhaps especially, in the face of death. I encourage you to read John 15-17 and experience the attitude of Jesus as He anticipated His death. Try not to get caught up in the theology of the chapters, but rather just sense Jesus' joy, confidence, and purpose as he anticipates His death and earthly departure. Over and over again He says, "It is better I leave, I and the Father are one, The Father knows me, I'm in the Father's love, etc." His confidence and hope flow throughout the chapters as He shares about his upcoming death. Not only, however, is He confident and hopeful for himself, but also for us- His Beloved. Repeatedly, He says it is better for us that he leaves, that even in the face of death we live in love with the Father and that He and we are one. One of His final prayers for us is that, upon His earthly departure, we know that we are loved by the Father "just as He Himself is loved by the Father" (John 17:23).
It is in knowing that we are loved by the Father that we find the antidote to the fear of death. Knowing God's love will be of little use if it remains solely in our intellect. Our intellect can't outsmart death. We must allow our knowing of God's love to seep into our soul. It is our soul that can accompany us as death knocks at our door. As we open our hearts and lives to the love and presence of God, slowly the truth of God's love seeps into our soul. However, if we only allow God's love into the "cleaned up and pretty areas" of our life, we will remain fearful. Relegated to only certain areas of our life, we will always be waiting for the "other shoe to drop" when God finds out who we really are. If however, we begin to honestly open all of heart and lives to God we will be surprised to find how God's love seeps deep into our soul and expands over time. Eventually, we may even be able to say as it does in 1 Corinthians, "Death swallowed by triumphant Life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now? " (Msg. translation)
Consider this week:
Am I allowing Love in?