Friday, April 11, 2014

The end of the obituary

Life is fleeting. Life is short. Life is like a wind storm - fierce and all consuming while it rages, but silent and soon a fading memory, once it passes.
This morning as I flipped through the pages of the local newspaper I was reminded of the fragility of life. The obituaries that cover page after page of the Pittsburgh paper were a stark reminder of how brief all of our lives are.  In the end, all of our days, all of problems, all of our accomplishments get whittled down to a paragraph printed in black and white. In the end, we each get a brief synopsis of our lives, a condensation within a few paragraphs of newsprint.
As I read through the obituaries this morning, I was struck by how greatly each person's life varied from one to another. One man had an obituary that listed every group he ever belonged to, accomplishments dating back fifty years, and an array of exotic travel locations to which he had traveled. And then, the very next obituary listed nothing but the woman's name, age and surviving loved ones.  Another tribute was for a twenty-one year old who died suddenly. Her family wrote about her artistic ability and her love of beauty. Each obituary was as unique as each individual.
When I finished reading I couldn't help but feel a twinge of sorrow.  Although natural to feel sadness and grief after reading about the deceased, there was something deeper causing my pain. My sorrow was over how each obituary ended.
They all ended with a grave. A burial. A goodbye forever.
But the story doesn't have to end there. The end doesn't have to come in the form of a memorial service and calling hours. The end of the obituary can actually be the beginning of the story.

At the end of our lives, when our bodies fail, the journey doesn't have to come to an end. Through the salvation of Jesus Christ the story can just be getting started. We can still have eternity ahead of us. This life, no matter how brief or how long, is really just an overture. When you and I find salvation in Jesus Christ we pass through this life into the real action, the grand opera, the main event. This is just the prelude to the true greatness to come.
Without becoming born again by the blood of Jesus Christ this life ends with the burial, with the final words of the obituary. There is no eternal life in heaven after death apart from Christ. He alone is the path to Heaven and eternity in God's kingdom. As Jesus clearly states in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." It is that simple and that straightforward. There are no back doors, alternate routes or exceptions. To experience eternity in Heaven you and I must come to Jesus on earth, accept His free gift of salvation and claim Him as our Lord and Savior.

Thanks to the redeeming work of Jesus Christ you and I can look forward to a life spent in eternity. After our life on earth ends we can spend eternity in Heaven among the angels of glory, singing unending praises to God our great Father. There will be no sin, destruction or pain. All of the world will be perfect and joy will be overflowing. There will be perpetual peace and overwhelming light.

So you see why I don't want my obituary to end with a service of burial? My life won't truly be ending when I am put in a grave. For me, life will just be getting started.
Can you look forward to the same eternal glory? The promise of Heaven can be yours to claim and anticipate. The gift of salvation is extended to you through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. He died so that even as you take your last breath on earth, you will be stepping into Heaven, without sin or blemish. You will be justified and made new. Jesus Christ died so that you could be clean in the eyes of the perfect God. He paid the penalty for your sin and mine. Through Jesus Christ we have the security of eternity. Jesus, the way and the truth and the life, has paved the way for you and me to live a life of victory at the end of our obituary.

No comments:

Post a Comment