Wednesday, October 31, 2018

All Saints Eve and Death in Oxford

With All Saints and All Souls – and my demise (No, I do not intend to die on those days.  But my say on that is limited.) – nearing, I have been thinking about death. 
“Well, that’s cheerful. Let’s dwell on something else,” you may understandably say and I may have said in years past.  But the Lord would apparently have us dwell on just that.
It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.  Eccles. 7:2
Now I have to confess that was not one of my memory verses when I was younger.  I never was a party boy, so I understood “the house of feasting” is overrated.  But I was not particularly interested in dwelling “in the house of mourning.” Besides, the time of my death was sooo far in the future, it practically was never to happen, don’t you know.  So why go there?
But now death no longer seems so far way.  And knowing that not just in my head but in my heart is not pleasant.  But it is good for me.  Knowing that I will soon have to answer to the Lord for what I have done and not done in this life does motivate me to wiser and better living. Just thinking that one day I myself will have to look back on my life and evaluate it is motivation enough.
Still, the nearing of death can be more frightening than just about anything concocted to scare on Halloween. But when I sense fear of death creeping in, I remember Christ has defeated death for me so that I might really live and that now and forever.
When I was younger I did not fear death.  I know that because I had a near death experience in my twenties; a skid and a tire blow-out nearly sent me into a deep ravine in Tasmania.  A lot of things went through my mind including clinically thinking, “I am about to die.” But I did not fear at all. (Now whether I cussed the car to damnation is another question.)  
Now I do fear death a bit, but I have a bigger fear both now and back then.  Far more than death, I have long feared a wasted life.  In my twenties, I was struggling to make something of my life and hated that feeling I had at the end of at least one or two years, that the years were wasted, lost.  Now I fear that when I run out of time and energy, I will look back and see too many years wasted, lost.
Considering that I am going “to the house of mourning” before long goads me not to waste any more years, to make the most of my life with God’s help.  May God indeed help me.  May God help us all that as we rejoice in the new life He gives us, we at the same time make the most of the earthly life He gives us.

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