Life and death
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.”
— Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
Every year when the leaves begin to fall, I think of this passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes and how it reminds us all of the value of times and seasons. In every time, there is life and death. We usually praise the life and mourn the death. However, in these seasons we can reflect on God’s goodness to us, how providential His care is in all times. Thankfulness and gratitude should be natural for us, should flow from our hearts. Maybe even in the midst of turmoil and chaos in the next few weeks leading up to elections, we can find the reason to have a heart and mind that give praise and thanks to God with us, here and now.
So, when we think of life and the life we have been given, what are the images and thoughts that come to mind? Maybe it is in the warmth of summer days past, maybe in our health and well-being. Maybe we find that life is most cherished when it is noticed as a gift that God has given. Maybe life is most obvious when it is gone or has died. Any way we look at it, all life has its origin in God, the creator of all things, as we are reminded in the story of creation in Genesis, and as it is praised in the psalms of David.
It is good to notice the value of life around us and to see how even the smallest grain of wheat, kernel of corn or blade of grass reveals a great plan. A plan to provide and to sustain, a plan to nurture and grow. Life even proclaims to us a future, a vision of what is yet to come and the goodness God desires for us.
What about your life needs to be made new? How can a new understanding of God’s love for you help to cultivate your heart’s desires?
I celebrated a funeral recently and I could not help but notice the stark reality of life, even in the midst of death. All life will eventually die, and in death, all will rise again in Christ Jesus.
Death, then seems to be a necessary journey. The leaves must die and fall to make room for new growth. It seems many things around us are beginning to lose color and die. But even in this, we look to what will come next.
In faith we have hope in Christ that what has died will rise to new life. Everything around us will be made new and cooperate in a new creation and a new life. Thus death is a new beginning, a fresh start to something and someone new.
What needs to die in us? Maybe it is sin, or negativity, judgmental attitudes or even self-doubts. There is a necessary death that needs to be brought about to make room for the newness Christ offers us.
Lord God, make new in me Your love and the truth of who I am as Your beloved. Let whatever is not of You in me, die that I may live always for and in You alone. Amen!
The Rev. Joshua Brown
St. Patrick Catholic Church
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