Music Monday | Terminal

A picture of a Meetinghouse steeple and clock

Death is the ever constant elephant in the room. Everyone knows about it, everyone knows it is eventually inevitable, yet rarely does anyone want to think or talk about it. Yet death, as cruel as it is, is a necessity in this world. Everything that is now alive in this world relies on something that died. The plants that sprout from the ground and feed animals and humans grow from the dirt – made of decomposed plants and animals that came before. Even in the new heaven and earth to come, all who live there will be alive because of Jesus’ death on the cross and dying to themselves.

Lately death has been on my mind. Perhaps it is kind of morbid, but it’s hard to not think of it, with all the stories on the news and all the young people I have known to meet untimely ends. Death is prevalent, and it isn’t going away until the day Jesus returns. It’s the elephant in the room we have to address if we want to live this life like the gift that it is. None of us are getting any younger, and none of us know how many days we have left. I’m in my twenties, but I’m just as mortal as anyone in their supposed “sunset” years.

“The doctor says I’m dying
I die a little every day
But he’s got no prescription that could
Take my death away
The doctor says it don’t look so good
It’s terminal.

Some folks die in offices one day at a time
They could live a hundred years
But their soul’s already dead
Don’t let your spirit die before your body does
We’re terminal, we’re terminal.”

“Terminal” – Jon Foreman

Every day is one day closer. And in the mundane tasks of everyday life, it’s easy to forget what a gift this life is. I find it very difficult to remember this as I get caught up in the pressures and stresses at work. Perhaps that’s why the line quoted above about folks dying in offices cuts so deep. Sometimes it feels like I’m wasting precious time, caught up in the drudgery of getting my work done and just surviving. It’s easy to take all the little things – like breath, food, friends, and nature – for granted. It’s easy to lose wonder in the world. It easy to fall to cynicism and frustration. It’s a fight everyday, but I refuse to let my spirit die one day at a time as I go about my work. I want to live for something more. I want to live for Someone more.

Not only that, but I want to live BECAUSE of Someone more, that is, Christ. My hope is that you want this too. And there comes the concept of death yet again. See, in order to be in Christ, one has to die. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” I am alive in Christ.  And I am alive in Christ because of Christ’s death 2,000 years ago. Yet this new, eternal life is currently housed in a mortal shell, a vessel that will die. And even though I have been born again of God, part of the promise is not yet realized and will not be so until the day Jesus returns. As Christians, we live in both the now and the not yet. For now, while we inhabit this world of tension between physical birth and death, so too our souls lives in the tension of being saved yet not fully resurrected.

“We are, we are the living souls
With terminal hearts, terminal parts
Flickering like candles, shimmering like candles
We’re fatally flawed in the image of God.”

“Terminal” – Jon Foreman

We are living souls with terminal bodies. So even as Christians, our physical predicament hasn’t changed. But because of the new life that God has given and because of His promises, we can live this life in our mortal shells with hope and purpose. Because of Christ’s death, we are free to live for and because of God. Because of Christ’s death, we can live this life with hope and with longing for a world we have not yet seen. Because of our own eventual deaths, we can live this life like the gift it truly is. We can flicker and shimmer like candles, shining a light in a world that is so dark.

As we shine our light and acknowledge our own mortality, it also behooves us to take a breath, take a step back, and treat our fellow eternal souls in mortal bodies with decency and respect. While we may be different in looks, skills, status, or reputation, one thing is the same across the board – we are all dying. All of us face that predicament.

“Whenever I start cursing at the traffic or the phone
I remind myself that we have all got cancer in our bones
Don’t yell at the dead, show a little respect
It’s terminal, it’s terminal.”

“Terminal” – Jon Foreman

Everyone has some baggage they are carrying, even if it’s not easily noticeable.  Knowing that everyone is dealing with something, whether it is grief, physical illness, emotional problems, financial instability, etc., we ought to show love towards all, just as our Savior did. Getting mad about someone cutting you off on the highway isn’t going to do anything good for you or them. On your deathbed, you won’t care about that sort of thing. So let’s be slow to anger, quick to love, and willing to serve our fellow mortal beings. We’re all terminal, but for the time being, we can shine like candles, helping illuminate a dark world with the hope and love.

 

A Light in the Darkness

light blog

Darkness has covered the world as a shroud covers a corpse.
Light cannot ignite on its own, and hope cannot come from even the best of our works.

In this darkness, with a blanket of death wrapped around us, we lie spiritually sleeping.
Our heart may still indeed be beating, but death is really all that we are reaping.

When the time was right, and darkness seemed to permeate all of earthly existence,
The ultimate Light of the World came and shone with an unexpected brilliance.

This Light came like a small burning flame, humble and simple,
But this Light was more than just an ordinary candle flicker.

In him was life, life like mere mortals could not fathom in their comfortable sleep,
A life of peace in the midst of struggle, a hope so different and unique.

This Light was, is and will be light of people, a light that shines in the deepest of darkness,
The Word of God, alive and incarnate.

The world was made through this Light, but the world esteemed it not.
Still the Light came, without hesitation or any second thought.

The Light knew there would be rejection,
But still came to save us from our own self-destruction.

The brightness of the Light hurt the eyes used to the night,
But no matter how much the world tried to extinguish it, the Light still shone ever bright.

Darkness could not, cannot, and will not overcome it,
In fact, the darkness cannot hide and will ultimately submit.

The Light gave a hope to all who believed,
They became sons and daughters of God on high, adopted and redeemed.

By the Light, we can see and do things impossible in the dark,
The Light invites us to follow and with him to walk.

And as one flame can light many fires,
All believers have the light, though we often try to hide it because of fleshly fears.

Darkness can be comfortable, as it keeps our deepest secrets hidden
But only in and by the Light can all our sins be forgiven.

If the Lord is our Light and salvation, of whom shall we be afraid?
Though we are prone to wander, our Light does not stray.

We are children of the Light, lamps made to illuminate the night.
And in the pitch black of night, light shines spectacularly bright.

And so, our Savior says “let your light shine before others,”
That they might glorify the Father with awe, praise, and wonder.

May we live, love, and serve wholeheartedly,
As messengers of God’s great grace and artistry.

And as a candle’s wax eventually runs out,
So does the end of our days on earth eventually come about.

And while our physical forms wear down and decay,
The light of life permeates our souls forever and always.

The Light of the World is Light forever,
And so we are His, forever and ever.