A Culture of Resurrection

Two things are on my heart as I write this. First, I received the sad news earlier today that Belgian pro cyclist Wouter Weylandt was killed crashing on a descent during Stage 3 of the Tour of Italy. He was 26 and well-respected in the pro peloton. In fact, strangely enough, he had won stage 3 at last year's Tour of Italy. While competitive cycling is a dangerous sport and racers are vulnerable to crashes and injuries, tragic deaths like this one are quite rare. When they occur they catch our attention. I think it gives every cyclist pause. My wife, non-cylist but loving cycling supporter, was first to text me the news. I admit I paused before heading out on my Sunshine Canyon ride at lunch. In fact, knowing I was riding, my wife called me while I was on the bike just to make sure I was okay. A death like this one reminds us of our mortality and the relative fragility of each of our lives. If it's not a bike crash, it could be a suspicious mole, a positive lab result, or the sudden onset of chest pains. Our mortality remains 100% and we pause.

But I went for my bike ride anyway.

I'm glad I did. The alternative (giving in to fear or deciding to ride the plains instead of the hills) didn't make sense. I love cycling and I know I'm mortal (midlife reminds you of that more and more), but I want to affirm the good gifts of God in this life, acknowledge my brief sojourn here on earth, AND affirm the resurrection to come.

Which leads me to the second thing on my heart today. A friend in our church has sent me a link to a marvelous article in Christianity Today entitled "A Culture of Resurrection: How the church can help its people die well" (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/june/5.35.html).

Here, Rob Moll reflects on how we can better remind our fellow Christians of the reality of death and resurrection. These are not morbid topics, the writer maintains, but biblically-speaking, they are unashamed truths of Christian life. Churches in the past often had cemeteries attached to them, places where worshipers were reminded each time they gathered of the Church Triumphant--those saints who'd gone before them and were, as the Bible so nicely puts it, "asleep." (The root of the word "cemetary" is from the Greek word for "sleep"!) Death for the Christian is indeed sleep. For as Paul so elegantly writes: "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him...Therefore encourage one another with these words" (1Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV 2011).

Eastertide, the weeks following Easter which precede Pentecost, is a season in which we recognize our mortality and affirm our hope of resurrection. No doubt about it: life is frail and short on earth, but don't let it curl you into a fetal ball. Christ is Risen Indeed!...so take that bike ride.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a sad event Carl. But... I love the promise that we're given and I hold on to that dearly. Hope is eternal.

blessings dear friend... Carol