Every single human being who has walked this earth has, or will someday die. You’d think after all of these deaths, there would have been a person who would have made a solution for the pain of death. When there is death, especially to those we have close relationships with, or when it is very tragic, there is always mourning and tragedy surrounding it. It reminds us of the absoluteness of our finitude. Sometimes, death creates great fear; sometimes it creates anger; sometimes it is just deep sorrow. Regardless, it is always difficult.
As Christians, we are reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words that “we do not grieve without hope.” (1 Thess 4:13) When we recognize that the Kingdom of God is with us, we are not left abandoned like the pagans who grieve without hope (as Paul refers to), but God is able to share in our pain, as Jesus did with Lazarus, and we grieve within a hopeful context. One of the great hopes that we have within death is that, as Christ gave his spirit away within his death, so we do as well. Because we inhabited that spirit in his death, in our own passing, we continue this giving of the spirit of life. Henri Nouwen says it so well, “Not only the death of Jesus, but our death, too, is meant to bear fruit in other people’s lives… Not only the death of Jesus, but our death, will bring the Spirit of God to those we leave behind. The great mystery is that all people who have lived with and in the Spirit of God participate through their deaths in the sending of the Spirit. Thus God’s Spirit of love continues to be sent to us, and Jesus’ death continues to bear fruit through all those whose death is like his death, a death for others.”
This is the hope that we carry in those very hard times. It doesn’t mean it won’t be easy, but it won’t be meaningless.