With the spring flowers out, leaves already on the trees, the woods filling with bluebells, and, at least in the UK, the sun warming up nicely for the Easter weekend, it is not a good time to talk about death—yet, sadly—death is what is on my mind.
A good friend, a vibrant young adult, lost her battle with cancer this last week. She was positive until the end, writing on her Facebook page just the day before she died that, "I'm not well enough for radiotherapy or more chemo so they want to send me home. But I'm not giving up. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and only God knows the future and I will fight in His arms."
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Sadly, that struggle came to an end the next day and that same Facebook page then filled with hundreds of tributes to a life well lived—but ended much too soon.
It is a tragedy—one that has brought sadness to her family and many friends—yet one of just many stories that can be multiplied many times. One could even argue that in terms of world events, a death or two in my own family or circle of friends is not too significant. Nevertheless, for each individual, death is a personal tragedy.
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So why am I sharing this burden with you over the Easter weekend? Well really, precisely because it is Easter. Amidst all the bunnies and chocolate eggs is the very specific thought that the Christian world is remembering an event, and a person, that really puts personal tragedy into perspective, and that turns a time of mourning into a time of hope.
To understand that story we have to go back earlier in the Gospels, to a strange scenario where a very good friend of Jesus lies on his deathbed—yet Jesus ignores the request to...
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