Scripture: Psalm 116: 12 What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, 14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
Observation: Not sure how many times I’ve read this psalm over the years, but today I noticed something for the first time. V.15 says “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.” In most cases we view death as a great tragedy. It’s something to be avoided almost at all costs. This verse would suggest that God doesn’t see our deaths the same way we do. Rather than tragedy, God views our death as a reunion of sorts.
Application: In my first call as a pastor back in 1998 I served a church in San Antonio. The founding pastor was still in the area, a mythical figure of sorts for those who remembered him. He was quite the character and taught me some valuable things during my first years in ministry. Perhaps 5 years later he passed away. On the church sign out front the message read, “Pastor Schwannenberg – home at last”.
One of the most important things our faith does is help us reinterpret mortal death. Rather than the end of everything, our death is simply a transition from mortal life to eternal life – made possible through Jesus Christ. This morning I’m thinking of one of my uncles who had a massive stroke and, while living, is severely limited in his function. His family members hate the thought of losing him and I believe he wants to live on. But perhaps God the Father has a different take on this. Today’s passage would suggest that God eagerly awaits his reunion with my uncle Richard. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it.
Prayer: Lord, death is a fact of life – but it’s one we tend to resist. In our culture death is often viewed as a failure of sorts. Give us grace to see mortal death as the homecoming it surely will be. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.