I have been thinking a lot about death the last couple of weeks. I have seen first hand how it creeps in and slowly robs vitality, strength, and independence from someone. Like the mythical vampire it sucks away youth and eventually life. Cruelly and without mercy it brings pain and destruction. It works the same in individuals as it does in cultures and societies. Poverty, starvation, racism, bigotry, hatred, war, human trafficking, slavery, and environmental collapse are all footprints of death on the prowl. Death is all around us.
I hate death. It is my enemy.
The Bible tells us that we were not created to die, but to live. And to bring more life by procreation and by caring for the creation that God gifted to us. At one time we were good. We created and re-created and enhanced life, by embracing it and nurturing it.
Then we began to think that we knew better than the Creator, and we decided to do our own thing, Humility, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and nurturing was replaced with what “I” want and death came to life.
And the web of death ensnared humankind and all of creation, thick and dark it swallowed up even the light of life.
For eons creation itself groaned under its weight.
But then the Creator broke through, becoming the light of the world and overwhelming the darkness death had spread. The shadows of death were dispelled from the corners of politics, religion, and culture. Old ways and practices that brought suffering and death were exposed and vanquished. The Kingdom of God was invading the kingdom of death. And many were transformed and called to become agents of life by bringing grace and mercy, love and compassion, healing and restoration to individuals and to the world around them.
Death has not given up easily and many have been tortured and martyred, imprisoned and shunned. But as those lights were extinguished by the vile breath of death, others were born to life.
So today, we are the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Light. And our war is with death wherever it reigns, whether in the life of our family and friends, or in the life of the communities around us. Our call is to bring to life those things the enemy, death as held in its hand for too long.
And the gates of hell will not prevail against us.