Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Hebrews 9 says:
Just as humans are appointed to die once,
and afterwards face judgment,
so Christ was sacrificed once
to take away the sins of many;
and he will appear a second time,
not to bear sin,
but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (vv. 27-28).
This passage puts three appointments on our calendar: one with death, one with judgment, and one with Christ to receive his salvation when he returns.
A man I worked for died a couple of years ago. He didn’t want a memorial service or public ceremony. So instead of attending a funeral or a celebration of life, I attended happy hour at a pub, which a friend and colleague organized. We told a story or two and raised a glass to his memory.
How conflicted society is about death! How to deal with it? Like my boss, many people no longer have rituals to incorporate death into the meaning of life.
I wonder sometimes about my appointment with death. Will I move into an old folks home, isolated with my peers, hoping for occasional visits from younger folk? When I lose my mobility, will my weekly highlight be a sling lift into a hot bath tub? Maybe I’ll spend my last days attached to IV lines and monitors, until they disconnect me and let death deliver me.
What does it mean to die with dignity? Or is death always undignified?
Christ kept his appointment with death, naked on a cross, an undignified death. By his death he took away the sins of many. Now he has an appointment to return, bringing salvation to those who wait for him.
Here are three ways to look at our appointment with death.
First, death is an enemy. God breathed into dust, creating human life; but death dissolves that union, returning the body to dust and releasing the breath back to God. When I attend a funeral, even if it’s called a celebration of life, I feel grief that another battle has been lost, that Enemy Death won another undeserved victory, and the world a poorer place.
Death is also a friend. In her later years, my mother said, “My friends and I are not afraid of dying. We’re afraid of the journey that will take us there.” Fortunately, death limits how long our bodies and minds deteriorate, it brings an end to suffering, and it puts a boundary on the evil or the good we do.
So death is an enemy and a friend. It is also a gateway. Christ, who passed through death to a new life beyond, invites us to follow him to that place. There he will breathe new life into our dusty bodies,and invite us to eat fruit from the tree of life.
Our father, sometimes our lives are short, confusing, painful. Sometimes they are long, rewarding, and beautiful. O God, as long as your breath gives life to our frail and dusty bodies, help us live fully and worshipfully, preparing diligently for our appointment with death, waiting in hope for our appointment with Christ who will be our judge and saviour.
I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.