Will death define your life?

Dear friends in Fallbrook,

A new book, “On Living,” comes from Kerry Egan, a hospice chaplain whose full-time job is caring for people as they die. She is a self-styled “Grim Reaper in clogs” and has vast experience working with the dying. She offers this advice:

If there is any great difference between the people who know they are dying and the rest of us, it’s this: They know they’re running out of time. They have more motivation to do the things they want to do, and to become the person they want to become. There’s nothing stopping you from acting with the same urgency the dying feel.”

I have no doubt that Chaplain Egan offers tremendous compassion to the dying, but I wonder why she’d offer such advice to the living. The stress of running behind schedule on Monday morning is already enough, why would I want to apply the same time’s–running–out principle to my entire life?

Now, to be fair, Egan is right that people often ignore their mortality and therefore live without a useful perspective on life. Chaplain Egan probably hopes her readers can benefit from a memento mori every now and again. I’d agree. But let’s not cheerfully promote death to the role of life coach!

Death is the greatest crisis of existence faced by every human being, so it’s understandable that we might try to marshal death to the cause of life—what else can we do? But beware, underneath our platitudes lurks the idea that the time you have in this life is all the time you’ll get.

But the claim of Jesus Christ is that there is infinitely more to life beyond this body’s death. Even more, the claim of Jesus Christ is that all who believe in him will be bodily resurrected to a new life that is both greater in quantity and quality than this one. And the claim Jesus made he backed up with a remarkable, public, historically–verified miracle: he himself rose died and rose again. If a hospice chaplain is qualified to tell us about death, then surely a man who rose from death is qualified to define life.

If a hospice chaplain is qualified to tell us about death, then surely a man who rose from death is qualified to define life.

Even if you are skeptical of Christ’s claims, don’t you at least want them to be true? Don’t you desire that wrongs be made right? Don’t you crave justice and peace? Don’t you yearn for the joy on the other side?

This Easter is the best time to at least take a look. The Christ’s claim and offer is too great to ignore. Maybe you’ll conclude it’s all nothing. Or perhaps, like hundreds of people just like you, you’ll see the evidence yourself and be free from the fear of death now and forever. It’s at least worth a look.

I invite you to join us for Easter Sunday worship at St. Stephen Lutheran this coming Sunday, April 16 at 9:30am.

Serving in Christ,

Pastor Bassett


New Worship Series

Epicenter

Any event of significant seismic magnitude sends waves of energy that can be felt hundreds of miles from the epicenter. The resurrection of Jesus is an event of such cosmic magnitude that its effects are felt in every corner of life. The empty tomb of Jesus is the epicenter of religious truth that ruptures our fragile human wisdom and establishes in its place an unshakable foundation of divine revelation.

On Easter we see that everything starts with Easter, or ends without it. Human wisdom assumes that all religious claims are essentially the same—enigmatic sayings to help you make sense of life. But Christianity makes a claim unlike any other—either a particular man named Jesus was raised from the dead or his life (and ours) ultimately means nothing. Easter is the central historical event that establishes a central religious truth. Without this truth everything ends, but with this truth everything is just beginning!

  1. April 16 – Everything starts with Easter (or ends without it)
  2. April 23 – The central feature of faith
  3. April 30 – The central proof of purchase
  4. May 7 – The central reason for religion
  5. May 14 – The central foundation of salvation
  6. May 21 – The central truth of our testimony
  7. May 28 – The central guarantee of glory