The Conquering of Death

As featured in The Troy Daily News

Sometimes humanity forgets what is promised to us. Sometimes we forget our hope. Sometimes we forget the reality of our future. Easter is our pleasant reminder.

As Holy Week concludes the liturgical season of Lent churchgoers will be reminded of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We will be retold of the plot against his life. It will be recounted to us the love and encouragement that Jesus entrusted to his disciples during the Last Supper. We will grimace as we hear again about the torture of the crucifixion, the seeming finality of death, and lastly – the disciples’ fear and disappointment that came with Christ’s burial.

Alas, as many times as we might have heard these stories, it still can seem difficult to relate to the events shared with us via the Gospel accounts. After all, these events happened in a different era, in a different culture with different societal practices. If all that isn’t difficult enough, in many instances, the church universal hasn’t done a very good job of adapting to modern realities in order to explain the importance of these events to people in meaningful ways.

This, I think, has generally resulted in a poorly educated and less-interested body of self-proclaimed Christians who remain ignorant or mostly unconvinced of their need for greater theological understanding. We can see the results of this failure as many American believers only attend services on Christmas and Easter and others have even forgone church altogether. In this way, it might seem from a distance, that we have lost our common purpose as Christians.

Yet, even in spite of the church’s failures and individuals’ inadequacies of understanding, there does seems to be one thing that all of us can comprehend and rally behind. We all detest death. That is because, at some point or another, we have all experienced death in our lives.

And that undesired familiarity assures us that death doesn’t discriminate. Death takes anyone and everyone in time – friend or foe. It robs us of the people we love – our parents, sometimes our children, our neighbors, even our pets. Simply put, death is an enemy to humanity.

More than that we don’t just dislike death – we are actively fighting against it in order to overcome it. We are presently developing technology that enables us to live significantly longer – maybe even indefinitely – because we despise death so much. And that technological development seems to me to be perfectly within the scope of Christ’s redemptive purposes for humanity and the world.

But that technological development hasn’t come overnight. And, in the mean time, we should allow Easter to encourage us toward the prize of everlasting life. The resurrection should ever be our reminder and hope that this common enemy cannot, and will not, hold humanity back from living into our potential – because Christ has already given humanity the victory. This triumph is not just promised – it is already secured for our future.

Now, as we live into that eschatological reality, we participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world. A truth so evident that we see these purposes happening before our eyes whether we believe in them or not.

The Good News this Easter is that regardless of our belief or our doubt, Christ’s promises are coming true. Christ is risen, and because of that truth, humanity and the world are getting exponentially better. The only question left to decide is: Will you choose to participate in conquering death as well?