Monday, 6 February 2012

It's a Matter of Life and Death

The Sunday before last was my final day as the Children and Families Pastor at St Paul’s Katikati. On Tuesday I began my internship there – I’ll be a Ministry Intern, a student for ministry.
I wanted to write something beautifully eloquent to mark the completion of this chapter of my life. Perhaps, a eulogy of sorts, as I reflected on and rejoiced in this life that once was, and will never be again.
Gosh, that sounds awfully depressing! It sounds like a part of me is dying. It sounds like I am wanting to write the final chapter of a tragedy after the heroine has died and all hope is gone.
The truth is; I want to let this part of my life die. I have been shaped by the things that I have seen and experienced over the last three-and-a-bit years, and these things have contributed to who I am and who I am becoming. I want to value and appreciate this time for what it was, and I want to put it to rest. Otherwise, I’ll keep trying to live this old life, I’ll keep trying to resuscitate something that was never meant to live forever, I’ll keep trying to write a storyline that stops connecting with the main theme because it’s just going on and on and drifts further and further away on some ridiculous tangent.
So if we imagine that life is like a story, and like any good story, with chapters and characters, conflicts and climax, each part of the story contributes to the overall narrative flow. This latest chapter of my life – one which has been full of beauty and mystery – may have come to an end, but it is not the end of the story.
The more I live, the more I understand that death is a part of life. The more I live, the more I understand that death brings things to an end. The more I live, the more I understand that death isn’t ‘The End’. Death is never the final chapter, but it is a necessary chapter.

The Gospels tell us the story of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension. His death leads to life.

It’s the same for us too. At the end of our days, when we close our eyes and take that final breath, we will enter into death, and we will experience new life in Christ. His death leads to life.
So, if it’s the same for us, what if it’s not just the same for us at the end of our days, but every day? What if we didn’t think of death as this big, formidable enemy whom we avoid at all costs, or give our lunch money to so he won’t beat us up today? What if death is something we experience daily, as we stop trying to sustain life on our own terms, by our own exertion (which doesn’t really lead to any kind of life at all), and finally allow ourselves to be found in the life of Christ? What if we put to death our pride and our desire for control, and surrender ourselves to the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life? What if we embrace death, and live?
That wouldn’t be tragedy. That would be triumph. Not because we thought it would make a good twist and decided to write that into our own stories, but because it’s a part of God’s story, and we are too. Our stories are found in his story. Our lives are found in his life.
To be continued…

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