Lord teach me to live well in light of death
In the shadows, rather, of its reality
To build theology around this dark scaffolding.
As reminders of death abound.
As I ruminate on the recent death of my mother,
As I witness the ever-nearing death of my dog,
As I receive the daily rhythms,
Submitting to rest,
Submitting to sickness,
Submitting to the slow-and-steady process
Of a body that will wear out,
Teach me here.
Remind me, here, of the tragedy of death.
That it was not meant to be, and yet it is.
That, from the first drop of bloodshed, it was a grace,
Covering the sins of those first sinners,
Shortening their days and ours on a sin-stricken earth,
Making a way for them to be covered,
To stand again in the very presence of God.
Remind me, here, that death is an enemy.
That it steals and destroys,
That it stains and shadows every beauty this world puts forth,
That the Savior who would conquer death
wept over it first.
And then, remind me again that death does not win.
That the seed of Eve both has and will crush the head of the serpent,
That death itself has an expiration date,
That death has lost its very sting,
That death is swallowed up in victory,
That death is not a dead-end, but a door.
The Savior said at the Last Supper,
That there would be another meal.
That — though he would soon submit to the full and bodily
brokenness of death,
Though he would soon pour out his very life —
He would also take it back up.
He would drink again of this fruit of the vine
He would eat again at another supper
In the kingdom to come.
On the other side of his death, he whispers,
Death itself now whispers of it, too.
For those who believe,
Every glimpse of death is an arrow
Through darkness, to light
Pointing to the drink-again, eat-again moment to come
When we will sit at the table of the lamb who was slain
In the presence,
Of the one who is our door through death,
To everlasting life.
Matthew 26: 26-29
“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
On Maundy Thursday
April 1, 2021