Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rebuilding Sand: an Unorthodox Theology of Death

Death is a reminder for the living that we’re still human – built more like glass than stone – we cannot and we should not walk alone. For some of us, death is the final moment of life. For others, it is the day the Lord has called us home. For others, still, it is when the departed get the answer to that “never ending why” and the living have lost someone dear. With great sorrow, death is no stranger to the life of this author. There are two things I wonder, where does God play a role and what would we do without friends and family to support us? In the first case, my recently deceased grandmother would say “pray.” In the second, I know we all reach a point when we have to lean upon the love of others to endure.

Honestly, I don’t think faith means answers and that is not always an easy pill to swallow when facing grief and hardship. Personally, my theology on death has very little for answers. It makes the hearts and minds of the living cry the tears of the forsaken. Doubt is sure to creep in. If God is the creator of people and giver of love and grace (as myself and countless others believe) then detailed systems of repentance, decisions for Christ, or even an understanding of God are irrelevant. The Lord has called many of my loved ones home and the details of what they believed or didn’t seem pretty trivial in light of this short breath we call life. I know they are with God regardless of their theology. Death is a mystery of life and of God for the living and we will need some form of comfort.

Thus, the body of Christ is the people that stand by our side as we, the living, mourn. Community is such that we need others to cry with, laugh with, converse with, love, and share in each other’s sorrow. Our friends and family can take glass that’s crumbled to sand and turn it into something strong like stone – strong because we are not alone and because we hurt and suffer together – this is the body of Christ. In doubt, suffering, hardship, loss, and the pain of life may we recognize the need for community support; all the while, praying, even if we don’t have words to say to God. If I have ever “lived the impossible,” as I’ve said before, I have not done it alone – I could not do this alone – I need people to support me, and whether I like it or not, I need God’s hope to carry on.   

1 comment: