Two Deaths

Thursday, October 9, 1997

Ecclesiastes 3:20 – All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.
Ecclesiastes 8:7-8 – Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come? No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death.

The mingled images of the crash-mangled limousine still haunt the evening news as the inquiry into the death of a princess continues. We are reminded of the vision of two young princes following behind the flag draped caisson carrying their youthful mother's coffin, and the sounds of Elton John playing her tribute.

Then a switch of scenes as the news anchor reported yet another death. This time the pictures contrasted sharply with the previous depiction of wealth and royalty. The image of a plain white sari trimmed in blue which swathed the frail, tiny figure of Mother Theresa of Calcutta as she lay upon her bier flashed before our eyes.Two deaths of two compassionate people within one week reminded all that life is transitory. Taken together, the fragility of our humanity and the fleeting nature of our lives is thrown into sharp relief when considered against the magnitude of eternity. Although the politicians, psychologists and philosophers attempted to give answer to what the world finds unanswerable, the writer of Ecclesiastes understood.

Humanity stuck in arrogance and denial vainly meanders through life as if each of us will somehow be exempt from what the Scripture teaches is the end result of Adam's fall. Scripture pointedly states that all have sinned, that there is none righteous, no not one, and that the wages of sin is, indeed, death. We are none of us exempt, nor are any of us good enough to win our own salvation. The prophet wrote, "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6) We are none of us deserving of heaven in our natural state. So teaches the Bible. But into this bleak picture strode Jesus. Taking our faults and failures upon Himself, bearing the consequences of our own transgressions, and shouldering our guilt, Jesus went silently to the cross. Jesus died in our stead. Then on that resurrection morning, Jesus defeated death eternally. To the world's despair over death, God in Christ spoke, "Let there be light." Radiantly resurrected, Jesus is that Light. Because He lives, those who believe on Him will also live. He once said to a grieving sister, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes on me, even though he die, yet shall he live. Do you believe this?"

Prayer: Lord Jesus, We would believe. Help our unbelief. Enable us to come to you in faith. Be our Lord and our life. Save us from our despair over death. For we pray in your name. Amen.

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Cassandra Wessel <>
Tionesta, Pennsylvania, USA

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