Today we are thinking about death. Not only our own death, or the death of loved ones, or the ultimate death of all things, but all the little instances of death which surround us in failure, in wasted potential, in lost opportunities.
Christianity is a faith of resurrection. “We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song,” as St Augustine puts it. But resurrection is inseparable from death. We cannot reach resurrection by skirting around death, denying it, sentimentalising or spiritualising it, making light of it or brushing it aside. The only way to see resurrection is to stare death full in the face, acknowledging the reality and power of it. Only then can we truly see the power of resurrection.
And that’s true for all those little moments of death we encounter daily – the failures, disappointments, endings and losses which are an inevitable part of life. There is nothing to be gained by glossing over them, making light of them, pretending they don’t really matter. Only by facing the reality death in those moments will we be able to see within them the potential for resurrection.
Death and resurrection are intimately bound up, not only in the salvation of the universe, but in the everyday reality of our lives. Things must die, fail, end, in order for new life and growth to be possible. As any gardener with a compost heap knows.
I was most struck by a phrase in today’s reading: “doctrine must be negotiated through life’s flesh.” It is not enough to assent to abstract beliefs about death and resurrection. We must live it, feel it, touch it, in the here-and-now.
This year for #AdventBookClub a group of us are reading “In The Bleak Midwinter” by Rachel Mann. Join us on Facebook or Twitter for daily reflections and discussions. We are also raising money for the Trussell Trust: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adventbookclub2019.