Friday, May 25, 2007

Dying

I am dying.
I think I have known this for some time.
I look in the mirror and see cells that are dying: my hair cells have given up trying to produce colour. My skin cells have slowed their regeneration. My knees ache when I run, my shoulders hurt when I play tennis. And my aging sinuses give me headaches when the weather changes.

I am reminded of dying when my beloved dog dies.
I am reminded of dying when I have one too many funerals for people I have loved.
I am reminded of dying when the Middle-East/Dafur/Iraq explodes once more into death and destruction.
I am reminded of dying when the Church I have worked for, and loved, for nearly 50 years shows (yet again) her capacity to squeeze the life out of me…
And I wonder what lies beyond death.

I choose to believe that the relationships of this life will reconnect after death.
I think that all of life is so sacred that death is not life’s grand destruction.
And so I believe in resurrection…..
….a resurrection of every life that has been lived – human, animal, plant, insect.
And I believe in redemption: that all of life is valuable and that no life is lost.
And that there will be things I still need to learn.
Some may have more to learn than others.
I imagine that Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Robert Mugabe will have much more to learn about valuing life than say Desmond Tutu or Mahatma Gandhi.

This means that there are no harps and clouds, or 1000 virgins for every righteous man, or eternal rest, or thrones and golden crowns, or rewards for good behaviour. These are clearly projections of human longing. And heaven is not “above” and hell “below”. In fact there is no hell. Hell is probably meeting the one you called “enemy” and having to learn to be friends; or discovering that the one you condemned as an unbeliever is compassionately welcoming you to your next life.

I believe that God calls me to follow the way of Jesus as the most helpful way of learning my lessons, and living my life. And I will share the wonder and the passion I have found in the Jesus way of life with other searchers, in the hope that they too may grow in their spirits. And I will honour those who hear God calling them to follow a different spiritual path.

So this life extends beyond death. And the things I learn in this life will become useful in another life after my death. There is never a moment in this life that is wasted – because everything is useful. Both good and bad alike.
So bring it on.

4 comments:

digitaldion said...

You'll outlive all of us yet!

You still have a PhD to finish, at least three or four good books left in you, and a denomination to lead and shape... No pressure, just the reality of the gift that God has made you to be!

Now, tell me more about your TAAAAIIIIIGGGGRRRRR.... has the crack been fixed, is the old girl gone and the new girl in? Or have you stayed with the trusty saddle that you know and love?

Yours, a few years behind, in Christ!

D

Google word verification: nothing....

John Frye said...

Pete,
Provocative words. Thanks for stopping by JESUS THE RADICAL PASTOR. I see that we both got into a melancholy, reflective mood. I was born in 1947.

Wessel Bentley said...

and I was getting worried that I am getting too old to play for the "Springboks".

Hey Pete, thanks for being human. Too many of the people I look up to seem to represent statues, monuments.

You truly are an inspiration.

Love to the family

dinsy said...

Rock, you are a light shining in the darkness, and I thank God that the darkness has not overcome you.

Thank you, and God bless you.