Saturday, July 17, 2010

Of blood and death.

There have been three funerals this month from our church assembly (their family). I find it noteworthy how our culture dresses up sin and death to make it look pretty. Think about death. We call a funeral home to pick up the dead body. They embalm them, put makeup on them, dress them with the clothing of choice, and finally display the body days later in a fancy casket on a fancy table with a pretty skirt around it. Then, the funeral home takes the body to the grave where everything has skirts and rugs and a podium. After everybody leaves, some workers bury the body. The family never has much chance to interact with the blood or the dead, lifeless body. When you read through the books of Moses, you'll find that God makes certain that his people would have blood and death before them throughout their days. If a man died, there was nothing pretty about it. The family would have to immediately carry the body and put it in the earth, lest it rot openly. He repeatedly commands men to be taken to the edge of the city to be stoned for many of the transgressions. No dressing up consequences here. Or, I think of when Noah gets off the ark. God commands him to add animal meat to their diet, which required cutting the throat to spill the blood. If we had to slice the throat of the animals we eat, or even just see it done, we would take more seriously the act of eating flesh. I think eating meat is designed to be a continual reminder of the fruit of our sin. God's design is to always point to our need for a deliverer. I think God wanted people (and wants people) to be continually confronted with the consequence of their sin, because it brings eye-opening contrast between the grave and the River of Life Himself.

I recommend that we stop slighting the horrors of sin and death, and live lives that emphasize the difference between life and death. I think it could only bring more accountability and deeper worship. We have the hope of real, full, eternal, blissful life. Our God IS life. So, the more He teaches us, and the more we grow closer with Him, the sweeter taste of life we receive, even before putting off these mortal bodies. Ah, dear brethren, drink deeply of that River.

"As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!" -- Psalm 40:17