Posted by: Philip Rushton | October 28, 2013

Our Neglected Hope

This past weekend I had the privilege of being a part of Julie’s grandmother’s funeral service. In preparation for the service I came across this powerful quote from Frederick Buechner on my friend’s blog.

“Once before out of the abyss of the unborn, the uncreated, the not-yet, you and I who from all eternity had been nothing became something. Out of non-being we emerged into being. And what Jesus promises is resurrection, which means that once again this miracle will happen, and out of death will come another realm of life. Not because by our nature there is part of us that does not die, but because by God’s nature he will not let even death separate us from him finally.

Because he loves us. In love he made us and in love he will mend us. In love he will have us his true children before he is through, and in order to do that, one life is not enough, God knows.” – Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark

As I was forced to confront the reality of death this weekend I realized again how little I think about it. Sociologist Ernest Becker argues that we live in a death denying culture. I think he is right. We have so many things in our world that distract us from our mortality (think sports cars, make-up, and hair dye!).

This death denying dynamic speaks to a fundamental insecurity we have about death. The reason we avoid the topic is because we are uncertain about what lies beyond the grave. I suspect that most Christians are not immune from this insecurity. The belief in resurrection requires faith.

What Buechner suggests, however, is that our hope for resurrection is not without any basis. By reminding us of the miracle of life, Buechner suggests that we have reason to hope in the miracle of resurrection. If, in love, God made us, what prevents us from hoping that he will mend us? Perhaps the miracle of life might calm our uncertainty about the miracle of new life.

These thoughts from Buechner have stirred within me a renewed hope for resurrection. It is a hope that I neglect too often because of my insecurity about death. I feel compelled to join the Apostle Paul today in saying, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-58

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