An unwelcome intruder

“Death is, when we think about it, one of the most normal things about life in this world: it is finite and it ends. This happens to everyone. It’s not unusual, and when it happens to people sufficiently far removed from us we can even manage to be indifferent to it. But for all its commonality, close up, death never seems natural. It seems wrong, something that shouldn’t really belong to the human experience – an unwelcome intruder in our world. And as much as we cover it with euphemisms – a loved one has ‘passed away,’ or ‘moved on,’ or ‘left us’ – it is deeply uncomfortable for us even to think about. And so we don’t. The best we can do is not think about it, pretend it isn’t there, live as though it’s not going to happen. We don’t welcome being reminded that we will all have to face it one day.

“Our unease with death is a reflection that we know more than we realize. Death, like sin, does not belong here. Sin leads to death. The existence of death proves the reality of sin. It is the consequence and demonstration that we have sinned against God. It is something we were never intended to experience. As we grasp the significance of death we can begin to see the significance of resurrection.”

-Sam Allberry in Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life (P&R, 2010), pp. 41-42

2 thoughts on “An unwelcome intruder

  1. Wow. Having never read Allberry, his thoughts on death are almost word-for-word what I said at the eulogy for my Mom in December.Having witnessed a death close up (in multiple ways that phrase can mean), I certainly can attest to the fact that we were never created to deal with death. In many ways, it more than any other experience is what completely reinforced to me that we are broken, our world is broken, and we and it needs redemption desperately.When my mom died, I pretty much refused to use all the euphemisms that were available. To me, using them is a feeble attempt to ignore death, and a way to comfort ourselves where there is no way to comfort ourselves. It is a way to (yet again) steal the comfort God provides and attempt to do it ourselves. I'm sure I came across as crass and insensitive. But unless we look death squarely in the face, we have no right to quote Paul from I Corinthians: "Death, where is thy sting?" And it is only by experiencing death do we understand that certainly the sting is still here for those of us left behind, but indeed the grave has been robbed of its victory!

  2. Excellent points, Brent. Thanks for bringing up very personal, powerful thoughts. I concur whole-heartedly about avoiding euphemisms for death, and love the word picture of looking death squarely in the face, along with Paul.

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