“Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb.” Luke 24:12 NLT
I would rather run from the tomb and all thoughts of death but this week I will attend two memorial services for friends I loved who were roughly my age. A third friend was enjoying life Saturday morning; an hour later he was clinging to it. At my elbow is a small, sharp steel pin that exploded my tire instantly as I passed very close to an intimidating 18-wheeler at 70 mph.
Wisdom says “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Eccl 7:2 NIV
The house of feasting is our tradition. We leave a memorial service and immediately head to the potato salad. Fellowship is good; why is the house of mourning better? Because death is our destiny.
Death is always inconvenient, costly, frightening and ugly. We can drape the coffin in flowers but we can’t cover the pain. My wife and I will often avoid walking past an open casket. Why shouldn’t we avoid the unpleasantness of death? Because death is our destiny.
Death is more than just inconvenient. It is an enemy and it has yet to be defeated. In fact, “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor 15:26 NIV It is still our destiny, should Jesus tarry.
How do we face death, this awful, frightening, ugly enemy?
By running like Peter to the tomb. We can’t avoid it; we must prepare to embrace it. But the tomb we embrace is not ours but our Savior’s. We bow our heads, bend our knees and prepare to enter the low tomb of our Lord, knowing there we will find, not horror, but Life.
As we pass, one at a time, through that low passage, those of us who are left behind—temporarily—have the blessed comfort of peering ahead, past the stone that was rolled away. There are angels on that stone, radiant and assuring. They invite us to examine, not avoid, but they redirect our gaze from the tomb to the One was there and now walks among the living.
Death is ugly, He is beauty. Death is frightening; He is peace. Death is our enemy; He is the conqueror.
Death is our destiny; He is our destination, our eternal home.
Larry and Kathi