“Another thing we fear may not be the actual event of death, but getting there. How and when will our life end? Paradoxically, in nature we see the beauty in death: the ending of summer in the beauty of autumn leaves; the end of the caterpillar with the birth of a butterfly; or the ending of winter with the beauty of spring. But people aren’t like nature, and we don’t fade away with the beauty of autumn leaves or butterfly wings or spring flowers, for us, death is often grim and not beautiful, and getting there is a greater uncertainty and a legitimate fear perhaps most of us have. How will we go gently into that good night? We do not know. I am fond of the words John Quincy Adams used to describe his latter days. He once wrote. “The house in which John Quincy Adams lives is getting old now; its doors creak, the walls shake with the wind, the roof leaks here and there, and the old house is nearly spent, and John Quincy will have to move out of it one day soon . . . but he himself is quite well.” Note the most important words: “he himself is quite well.” And so shall we be. That is a promise of God. Only the other day I got an e-mail with these words: “God promises us a safe landing, not necessarily a safe passage.” I like that.
If life is not ended with death, as St. Paul assures us, then what lies up ahead? It’s truly amazing how the human imagination has screwed up the answer to that question. For instance, does anyone honestly think that a loving God would consign us to be heavenly windbags to float around in space forever? 0r cloud-dwellers with wings and musical instruments we might neither like nor care to play? Or to an eternity in a wretched state of hell? There is absolutely no biblical basis to any of these silly ideas that have come down through the ages. And one other thing: we do not become angels! I’m sorry to upset your fantasy on that one. Angels are it created order, we are told in Scripture, just a little higher in the pecking order than humans. But good humans, even dear little children when they die, do not turn into angels. Hallmark cards may have made a fortune on the idea, but it just ain’t true! Well, what then, if we do not become angels, or cloud-dwellers, or disembodied Spirits, or spend an eternity in hell? What does happen?”
Stay tuned for Novembers edition!
Peace and blessings,