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Friday, 13 July 2012

Death - there's no getting away from it!

This evening, we experienced our first heavy rain since our arrival in France. It more than made up for the dry, and even sunny, days. Yesterday, we were swimming in the lake at Le Chene du Lac; today we only managed to take a drive to Libourne, and have a walk around that particular town. From what we saw, it will be worth a return visit.

On our way back to the 'van, we passed a particular cemetery There was a very ornate, stone-gated, entrance. It had just one word engraved at the top - "TOUS"! For anyone who doesn't understand the French, that word simply means "ALL". It was, I suppose, a reminder to the folk of yesteryear, who lived in that village, that each and every one of them would, sooner or later, pass through that gateway. As someone once said, there are only two certainties in life - taxes, and death.

In spite of the claim made at the beginning of the StarTrek series (well, the early ones - I haven't watched the 'newer' episodes) space is not man's final frontier. Death is. And, as that cemetery gate reminds us, it is something from which there is no escape - at least until the Rapture of the saints of God. Yet it is the taboo subject of our contemporary culture. We hesitate to use the word. People don't die - they "pass away"; they are "lost"; they may even "kick the bucket". But to say that they have died sounds too final. We are a culture in denial!

Well-known Christian author, Tony Campolo, writes: "... those who deny that they are anxious about death are deeply troubled by it. Subconsciously, angst eats away at our vitality and joy. ... ... Some of us put on a false bravado as we lift our lift our glasses and try boldly to declare the Epicurean dictum 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.' But alas, we don't. And on the morrow the emptiness of that cry gives us a more painful pause, for we are more aware than ever that we must live with death without the deliverance that death itself can bring. 'Denial," says one of my friends, is not just a river in Egypt' And all of our efforts to deny death its due are doomed to futility." (Carpe Diem; p.130).

So what is the solution? Well, for the disciple of Jesus, the solution is in the Saviour. He is the only One Who has ever experienced death - and conquered it! That's the wonder of the resurrection account. And because He lives, those who are His can assert with confidence that they also shall live. Death is NOT the end! It is but the gate through which each of us must pass - and those who have entered into a relationship with Jesus have the assurance that they pass into His nearer presence in a dimension that is totally beyond our mortal understanding.

The way in which we best deal with that which causes us pain, or despair, or confusion, is not to deny it. It is to face up to it, and seek the solution to the situation. When it comes to death, that solution is found in Jesus - and in Him alone! He is willing to receive you. Are you willing to respond to His wonderful offer of full salvation?

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