Thursday, May 21, 2009

The thorn in the flesh of postmoderns - death

Even though I have grave suspicion about whether there is truly a postmoden worldview, this generation has a thorn in their flesh. Despair and grief when friends die inadvertantly such as in car accidents and drug overdoses.

How do you grieve if you hold to naturalism? That all that is is matter. You repond just as the Bible says - without hope! If you believe you just came from slime by chance, then the move into dust is just something that happens.

Os Guiness wrote a great book looking at the state of man searching for meaning and value - calling it "The Dust of Death." What an appropriate title, well before the emergents examined the establishment and the [ counter ] culture.

Can we face death with a different perspective than the unbeliever? Yes.

A couple of weeks ago I had to do the funeral of my mother who died at 89. We actually had a thanksgiving because she was friend of Jesus. She was a christian. That means we don't grieve as the world does because one day we shall meet again.

Here's something I wrote for the funeral.

How do you assess someone's life?
It's got to be more than talking about a person's life from their birth to when they die. Just recently here in Australia Richard Pratt died, and the media gave you the impression that what mattered was his wealth and power.

We also have just had Anzac day where we remember our Veterans, their commitment and achievements and what they gave the rest of us.

But what about a VET's life?

How is that assessed?

Thinking about it - we see soldiers who returned emotionally scarred, others physically scarred.
Is that how you think of them?

Or do you think about their early childhood or their teenage years?

We need to reflect on this because many who are older and suffering and then die, that's the last memory we have of them!
Like some with cancer - you tend to remember their suffering, how difficult it all was.
So How are we to assess mum's life?
All of us here can agree there's much in her life to respect, to admire, to love.

She gave herself to us three children when she didn't have to! Being our stepmother and a widow she could have walked away! But she didn't.

She went without so we could have much.
She went without marrying again. Without that close relationship that's so important to our humanity. To share on an adult level what's so important.

I could talk about her childhood, at Boort, and her parents store, and her army days as a driver.

But what is important is her relationship with Jesus.
Because when we have a relationship with Jesus we have life.
Not mere existence, not scrapping by, but life. Living with meaning. Knowing that God is your Creator and that you are made in His image. That is, you are not just some concoction of chemicals which finally got together and emerged out of the slime.

No, You and I and mum are persons, able to love, care, think, plan hope and share. Mum had learned about Jesus early in her childhood. She had gone frequently to Church. But she was of that generation which saw religion, saw christianity as a private matter. Not one you talked about much with other people.

But I remember a time when all that changed.
When in her reading of some great books by Christians she saw what Christian faith was all about, how it was about being His disciple, walking with Him and doing what pleased Him and not what pleased her.

That's the high point in mums life. When she told me one day she was thinking about joining a bible study group at church.
When her relationship with God and Jesus was her Life!

Not something that we do on sundays and when we pray at night.

That life, means death, physical death is not the end. It's Why for a christian death is not something to be feared.

While alive she had meaning and purpose and value in all that she did. And now that she is passed from us, she is still alive, because she is with our heavenly Father who is Life.

Mum, your legacy to us is that God is in the business of change. He is in the business of changing people to be like his Son Jesus.

We saw you change as you walked with Him.
And you hold out the goal for us to continue to be changed by Jesus day by day.
That is how one can assess a life. One tha tis changed by God. Impacted by Jesus.


No comments: