Tuesday, 25 September 2012
People will often say that they don’t care if there is an afterlife or not. Or that they are not afraid of death. Well we are either alive or dead; death for the body is painless, but the process of dying often is not. Even if death itself is without pain, it is the anticipation of dying that causes suffering and anxiety.
Death and what happens when we die is an important question. I think it foolish for people to spend their lives and to never think about their ending, at least as far as this world is concerned.
Belief in annihilation at death can be just as much an opiate as belief in some glorious afterlife for everyone. To believe that we are responsible for who we become -- be it monster or saint or somewhere in the middle -- is not always a comforting idea. To seek something good is understandable and should be encouraged. However when the ‘good’ becomes so central that anything will be done to achieve it, then that is when evil happens and those who seek that ‘good’ become monsters.
Belief in an afterlife is not always a great comfort, since we all must face ourselves at death and answer for our lives. I believe we all sin, fail, and without mercy, healing and forgiveness, we are doomed to a very unpleasant afterlife. One that is self willed and embraced, because mercy and grace is refused.
Forgiveness has a price, and Christ Jesus paid it. He took on our sins upon himself and forgave, and he did not demand justice -- hence his suffering. When anyone forgives someone a wrong, there is a payment the one forgives carries, while the one forgiven is set free. Christ Jesus bore the sins of all, hence is deep suffering death. Unlike us, his forgiveness and love are life giving, he overcame death and in him we all live.
It is not the wrath of God that is to be feared, but our own deep seated rage turned inward -- that is to be dreaded. God is not the enemy; we are, not only to ourselves but to others as well. The world is a reflection our own souls, conflicted, self centered and without hope and love, unless it is bestowed on us, either by others, or in the end, most importantly by God.
The mystery of the Christian message will never be fully understood. Perhaps that is why we often as Christians look upon Christ Jesus as just another human, though we say and believe he is divine. Infinite love and mercy is of a different order than human love and mercy, much, much, more not less.
I still am at the beginning in understanding the mystery of Christ birth, death and resurrection. Perhaps it is an eternity of seeking, experiencing this love at ever deeper levels. What keeps the Christian alive is the reality that we must constantly strive to see deeper as well as to love deeper. We are called to put on the mind of Christ Jesus.
Do you often think of your own death and what happens after? How can we contribute to creating a world where we are not the enemy but rather the friend of those who seek hope?