I have been thinking a lot about death lately. That probably sounds a bit morbid, but given my profession, should not be much of a surprise. I think death has been on my mind for lots of reasons: we celebrated the death of an incredible woman at our parish last week, our Adult Forum series during Eastertide is about death (end of life care, wills, legacy giving, funeral planning), and this Sunday’s lessons, although beloved, are quite common readings for funerals. Everywhere I turn seems to offer reminders of death, and yet here we are in the season of Easter – a time to honor resurrection – to honor Christ’s victory over death!
One of the reasons we are freed up to talk about death in Eastertide is because death is changed through the resurrection of Christ. In light of the resurrection, we see our life and death differently. We proclaim that difference in the Book of Common Prayer at funerals. “Life is changed, not ended,” we say in the burial office. Whereas the secular world would have us consume life to its fullest, ignoring the inevitability of death; would have us preserve our bodies and make ourselves look younger to ignore our natural aging; would have us avoid conversations with our loved ones and community about death, the Church says something different.
The Church says Christ’s resurrection changes life so much, talking about death is no longer morbid. The Church says, the promise of eternal life allows us make those funeral plans with a spirit of joy, not a spirit of dread. The Church says that our time among the living is meant to bless and honor others, so making that will and designating those legacy gifts to a church are in great congruence with our understanding of resurrection living. An Adult Forum series on death (or Resurrection Living, as we have called it) or reading lessons from funerals during Eastertide makes perfect sense. Those exercises free us from seeing death as final, encouraging instead a life of resurrection hope and joy – a life lived in the light of eternal life. I hope you will join us this week at Hickory Neck as we dive into that new identity and welcome the transformation of life in the light of the resurrection.