Death comes knocking on every door and most of us have felt its sting, the bitterness of its unrelenting pursuit of each and every one of us.
We are born into this world. We are first loved by those closest to us and gradually we learn to love, both others and ourselves. This process is lifelong and it is never perfected. Before we know it, those we love are gone and it is always too soon. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues – sooner or later, they leave. Death beckons and none of us are capable of resisting its pull. We are locked into time and space and the finite nature of our reality colors everything we know in a darkening gray. Every breath is one less breath we will take in this life. Every step forward inches us closer to the grave that awaits.
No one really wants to die. Even in our deepest valleys of depression, something in us wants to live. We want to survive and go on and continue.
Jesus himself could not achieve pardoning from this stark truth. In a moonlit garden he pleads with God: My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Jesus resists.
On this day, Good Friday, we confront death head on. We see it for what it is. We feel every ounce of emotion that comes along with it. And we resist as Jesus did. Our resistance is not futile. Far from it.
Our resistance is the very thing that carries us forward, keeps us alive, and moves us along.
Our resistance reminds us that death is not welcome here – in our lives and in our world.
Our resistance marks us as a free people, liberated and unchained from our self-inflicted slavery.
Our resistance is led by Christ the Victor, who won life for us, once and for all.
He did this in order that, by destroying even this death, He might Himself be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be recognized as finally annulled. A marvelous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonor and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat. [Athanasius of Alexandria]
So today, resist. Death does not have the last word. Its power has been annulled. Resurrection is coming.