“14 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.”
The Goodness of Death
Is there anything more certain than death? It feels so certain because it comes to all people with no respect of person; young and old, rich and poor…no one escapes. Yet, such certainty is unfounded. 1983 years ago today (as best calendars can determine), death met its match. On that Good Friday, the hope of the world hung dying on a Roman Cross, and after six hours it appeared death had won. After hours of agony and untold torture, Jesus gave up his life, and surrendered to death.
However, we know the rest of the story. Death for Jesus was not final – but it was real. We have now come to the last two days of our 40-day journey through Lent. And while we know the rest of the story of Jesus, we must not rush to the cross too soon. Today is a day to consider death; a subject we admittedly try to avoid, but we must not.
Can Death Be Meant for Good?
Good Friday is a time for each of us to consider our own death, for it will come, and quite often far too soon. Today is a day we especially hear the line of the Lord’s Prayer, “…and deliver us from evil.” When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and death entered our world, Satan meant it for evil, but God has turned it for our good. If you’ve recently lost a loved one to death (I recently lost my father to death), you may not hear my words about it today as meant for good; yet, that is what God has done.
It is good that God allows death, for it is in death that we are born to real life. To live in this world, as we know it now, would be reality and eternal death. His mercy comes to us by putting an end to our sufferings in this world, as those who through faith in Jesus Christ enter an eternal life, never to die again, never to be sick again, never to experience pain and suffering again. But, none of this would be true were it not for the death of Jesus on that Good Friday so long ago.
On that good day, for those who will believe, death changed from an eternal state, to a process of transformation. We see that process now, from only one side of the window. St. Paul says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Knowing that death is God’s plan to deliver us from evil, we can pray with the Psalmist, “Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.” In order to be raised, we must first fall…but do not fear, God is faithful to raise us from the ashes.
Grace & Peace for a Holy Week,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”