on death

Does the title sound depressing? 

Its inspiration came from some wonderful mind-meanders as I read Quinn Caldwell's daily devotional from the United Church of Christ website.

  United Church of Christ logo

United Church of Christ logo

At the beginning of each daily devotional is a Scripture reading.

the prophets: Ezekiel vs Jonah

Caldwell's use of Ezekiel 33:14-15 reminded me of Ezekiel's hospitality towards people who repent, in direct contrast to Jonah's pinching at people who actually did repent. 

Now I'm not putting this up as one is better than the other. We need the diversity of the prophets.

  • Ezekiel speaks to Jewish people who are in need of encouragement and sustenance. They are living in exile and having a difficult time. The inclusion of Ezekiel shows us that even during difficult times, even when we live in exile in a foreign land or find ourselves in a foreign place, God is there with us. Always.  
  • Jonah speaks to the Israelite's northern neighbors, the Ninevites. He doesn't want to share God's mercy with them. The inclusion of Jonah in the canon of the Bible shows us that God does not belong to any of us. We are all children of God, who come to God by way of many paths. 

death itself

Have you ever had thoughts that you just didn't share with other people because you wondered if you were being a bit too radical for people to understand? 

Death is actually absolutely necessary in our world. Without it, there is no way for nutrients, for minerals, for energy to cycle through the system.
Quinn G. Caldwell

Isn't that quote an amazing thought? Or perhaps you do find it depressing. Caldwell has a lot more in-depth to say about this subject, how we think that death entered the world through sin, when Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

That recycling or cycling through death, that's what also makes us children of the dust of long dead stars! Caldwell also wrote that we do not own our bodies but are merely borrowing the bodies we live in. 

The Cross and The Empty Tomb

I've often wondered too, why the symbol of Christianity is a cross. It's a symbol of torture. Too often it was used as a disguise for a sword or a knife. Why the cross, which focuses us upon death? Why not the empty tomb? 

What does the empty tomb symbolize? Just a few thoughts...

  • New life that springs from violence, from death. 
  • God, through Jesus, reigns over death
  • Easter
  • God's love and laughter overcomes the bonds of human sin, human weakness, human pride

Could we wear this symbol as a necklace? The letter "t" symbolizes the cross. The letter "O" could symbolize the empty tomb. An upside-down "U" could also.   

What do you think?