Note from Women's Ministry leader Tammy Lucas: This week's blog post is written by a guest blogger. He is our self-professing Women's Ministry's Mascot. He is a leader of men, women, and children. He is a follower of Christ. He is a father to girls, those that Lord gave us through the birth process and those that he brings to our doorstep through love. He is also my husband, Matt Lucas.
Good Friday is coming, and while all those who are in Jesus live on other side of Easter, we still inhabit a world shadowed by death. We see it in the changing seasons, in the wriggling worm at the end of our shovel, in the wake of a marital affair, in the headline of breaking news. We find it in our gossip that assassinates someone’s character, in our entertainment that consumes our free time, in our hearts that crave dead and decaying things to feed our souls. Death surrounds us, which is why we love Easter—spring sunshine, baby chicks and an empty tomb. But first there is Friday and I can’t run to the empty tomb and bypass the cross. I find it difficult to linger at the cross; not to treat it as simply a signpost on the way to the resurrection. The truth is that the cross is not a directional marker, it is a place of pain and anguish. It is never beautiful and always heartbreaking. Fortunately, we serve a God who knows this well, not as an observer, but as a participant.
So as we continue to prepare our hearts during Lent, it is healthy to remember that death pervades our world and lurks in the corners of our lives. Nouwen captures this well when he writes,
Mortification—literally, "making death"—is what life is all about, a slow discovery of the mortality of all that is created so that we can appreciate its beauty without clinging to it as if it were a lasting possession. Our lives can indeed be seen as a process of becoming familiar with death, as a school in the art of dying. I do not mean this in a morbid way. On the contrary, when we see life constantly relativized by death, we can enjoy it for what it is: a free gift. The pictures, letters, and books of the past reveal life to us as a constant saying of farewell to beautiful places, good people, and wonderful experience. . . . All these times have passed by like friendly visitors, leaving [us] with dear memories but also with the sad recognition of the shortness of life. In every arrival there is a leavetaking; in each one’s growing up there is a growing old; in every smile there is a tear; and in every success there is a loss. All living is dying and all celebration is mortification too. (Henri Nouwen, A Letter of Consolation)
Thankfully death does not get the final word, and the joy of Lent is knowing that death does not win in the end. But first comes Friday!