Wednesday, May 7, 2008


St. Benedict says that we should meditate, or be mindful of our death. Psalm 90:12 says "12So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.". While we often shy away from death it is important that we meditate on our own mortality.

The reason is not to be morbid but it is very humbling to be aware of how limited and finite we are. It is one step towards being more humble. For example if I died today Messiah Lutheran Church would still exists and my men's groups would still be passionate about Christ. This is because God sustains the congregation and my men's groups are encountering Christ, not me.

Another aspect is it helps us to understand what matters. I am one of many pastors for the congregation yet I am the only father to my children. When I die they lose their father and my wife her husband. What impact will my life have had on them? Will I have modeled Christian living and helped them grow in understanding of grace? Or will I have left them hurting because I was never available in this life and now I am gone?

Meditating on death also helps us in the process of letting go. One of the fundamental movements in the spiritual life is letting go and giving all of ourselves to God. The desire being to fully live out the second petition of the Lord's prayer "thy will be done, thy kingdom come". As we live and let go then we are prepared for the ultimate letting go: death. If however we have not fully surrendered ourselves to God and have not placed all our trust in his Son our Lord Christ then death is the most terrifying experience.

Death should be the final act of a life lived in surrender to Christ Jesus. We should not fear death for it is into the nail scarred hands we fall into. In death there is only love and life through Christ Jesus who was crucified but whom God raised from the dead.

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