Now that we know we are all mortal …
One of the effects of the global pandemic is this. So many of us have been ignoring the fact that we are mortal. We have been pretending, distracting ourselves, filling every stray moment with entertainments, and again just plain ignoring. But for a whole lot of us, that is gone. We are mortal and there is no denying it. What does this mean for us? There are lessons we should remember from these days. Some of them are sobering. Others are hopeful and joyful.
We should not put all our hopes in the things of this life and this world. There will be disappointments and there will be things we will never have. The Bible has something to say about this. “All that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in life – is not from the Father …. And the world is passing away along with its desires, …” (1 John 2:16-17)
Remember the inner life. Jesus called us to know the life of the soul. He talked about time with God, “
When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6) He invited all who are weary and burdened to come to Him and said, “you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29) The life of the soul is the inner life and it is important to fill that inner life with the good things of God. Things like faith, prayer, love, joy, peace, patience and more. The time we spend in God’s Word, and prayer is an investment in the things that last. The verse above from 1 John finishes, “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17)
Sooner or later this body will fail, and we will stand in the presence of God. “It is appointed to man once to die and then the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) To many people that idea is frightening. But for the Christian there are all kinds of promises. We are connected to Jesus. And He said, “Because I live you also will live.” (John 14:19) Paul says, “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, … not height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) Paul tells us about the second greatest hope we have when he says that Jesus “will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body". (Philippians 3:21) The greatest blessing we will hear from God Himself when we hear God say, “Now the dwelling of God is with man.” (Revelation 21:3)
The Bible tells us that we are children of God, adopted into the family of God through what Jesus has done. He has bought us with His own suffering. He has forgiven our sins and given us His own holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21) And He calls us to follow Him and live with Him forever. Spending time with God in worship matters more than most people realize. How often have we taken it for granted, thinking it will always be there? Worshiping the One who has and gives eternal life; calling on Him in our needs and thanking Him for our blessings; and learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- these are the things that open up eternity. King Solomon said, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth”. (Ecclesiastes 12:1) God calls us to gather around Him; to remember the Gospel message, that “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) ; and trust Him that there is a “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” (Romans 3:22) Those truths bring our souls into fellowship with God.
This whole business started not long after we heard the words, "Remember, dust you are and to dust shall you return." That was Ash Wednesday. Now it is Easter Season. Remember that Jesus Christ is Risen; that He will return; and that He will call us out of "dust" to be transformed and live forever. Remember the life of the Spirit. And remember the life that is there for you in the words and promises of God.
Lord Jesus, call me to the spiritual things. Call me to the things of the soul. And call me to the eternal things of God. Help me remember the things of the inner life, where You call, deep within my soul, to know You as my Savior, to trust in You through all that happens in this life, and at the end to see Your glory forever. Amen.
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.