At Journey’s End

While the contemplations of the sacrificial death and subsequent bodily resurrection of Christ are fresh on my mind, I thought it would be appropriate to consider the concept of “dying well.” I’ve posted before about the concept politely described as “death with dignity.” In my mind, these concepts are not synonymous for the most part, though there may be vague similarities. pietaWhen Jesus died, the brutal way in which He died denied Him basic human dignity, but I believe He died well. He died fulfilling His mission. John 4:34 says:  “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” Jesus was singleminded in His resolve to do the task for which He’d been sent. He died well. Continue reading “At Journey’s End”

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Beauty In The Last Breath

Kara Tippetts died yesterday. She was 38, the mother of four and wife of 17 years to Jason. Though I never had the pleasure to meet her, like scores of others, I “knew” her through a blog, Mundane Faithfulness, where she shared the story of her short life with grace and authenticity.Kara

My first acquaintance with Tippetts came last fall thanks to an open letter she’d written to another woman also suffering from cancer. That woman had decided to proactively end her own life before the cancer could kill her. In November, after that woman died (by her own hand), I posted my thoughts here. Again in January, I posted a second time (with a sonnet) when Kara’s blog announced she’d begun to receive hospice care. Continue reading “Beauty In The Last Breath”

Fading Into Brilliance

Everyday, dying is a part of our lives. We don’t like to think about it. If we stay busy enough, distract ourselves with entertainment and intellectual pursuits, we can ignore it, even deny the inevitability of it. Why not? Young people exude an air of invincibility; those of us who are older know better, but we’re just as likely to adopt the same mindset … I’m going to live forever!

death_is_swallowed_up_in_victory_by_itsalwaysteatime-d62d85e
FROM: http://tiny.cc/jmq0rx

Still, it’s hard to ignore what our bodies tell us. It’s even harder to be oblivious when others around us are suddenly gone. Continue reading “Fading Into Brilliance”

Purposeful Suffering

In his book The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis points out:  “… the proper good of a creature is to surrender itself to its Creator.” In Job Chapter 3, this act of surrender is part of Job’s challenge. I think it’s safe to say Job was no different than me (or you?) in that he didn’t particularly enjoy suffering. However, because we’re the creatures, surrendering ourselves to the Creator’s intent may be a proper good, the right thing to do, the means through which creative objects derive their meaning … but this surrender isn’t always an easy thing for us!

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

There’s an interesting dynamic in the Book of Job. Reading the text today provides us with the exact situation … the back-story (if you will) to which Job himself wasn’t privy. We know from Chapters 1 and 2 that Job’s suffering transpires because of a heavenly conversation between Almighty God and Satan. Satan has requested permission from God to torment and cruelly sift Job in order to demonstrate that Job’s faith is worthless under heavy pressure. Satan thinks he can prove Job’s a man of fair-weather faith.

Job doesn’t know any of this. All he knows is his life has suddenly gone terribly wrong. He’s suffered huge material losses, the annihilation of his family and finally, the destruction of his physical health. Summing up his life, all Job really knows is:  Life sucks! Continue reading “Purposeful Suffering”