Most people do not discuss this natural transition in life because there is a fear and uncertainty of what’s to be expected once we kick-the-bucket. Death is a scary thing! So, we invent the ugly tales such as the grim reaper, Dante’s Inferno, Satan poking you with a pitch fork, and all these other mythical things to make the unknown-more frightening? The bible was not shy about introducing the subject; however, the only time churches talk about it is at a funeral or at the end of the sermon when the pastor is making an altar call (come to Jesus before it’s too late…).
My stance on death is that when people die they are compared to being asleep and unaware of what’s going on in heaven or on earth Ps 146:4; Job 14: 10-12. I don’t believe in transitional places like purgatory etc. I don’t believe that people go straight to heaven or hell before the resurrection (Rev 20) and I certainly don’t believe that there are ghosts who still spy on us after their demise-creepy.
Every now and then I find the idea of death scary because I believe I am not heaven bound. Some people may think they know for sure that their names are in the “Book of Life” but I am not one of them. Every now and then I find the idea of death welcoming because it gets me out of this ridiculous world-whether I am heaven or hell bound. I have my own objections about how shitty this redemption plan has been set-up but having Christian beliefs, one has to accept that ‘it is what it is.’ God made the rules and we have to follow-like it or not. I am very much aware that I could go to bed tonight and never wake up the next morning (hence my short morning prayer of thanks the moment my eyes are open). I am very much aware that death is everywhere.
We are all too aware of the ‘blink of an eye’ and life changes. This world is an equal opportunity world in which good things happens to both good and bad people. Bad things happen to both bad and good people. The one thing more scarier than being audited by the tax man is having the ‘angel of death’ after you. The bible does not indicate that we should be afraid of death no more than we should be afraid of sleeping. The one thing I have gotten is that the fear should be about whether we get to sit at the feet of Jesus or be destroyed with the original sinner. As a matter of fact, the new testament is saturated with the symbolism of death-Death to self, death to the world, death to sin.
The true purpose of death is to give us the ability to be reborn to something new and a promise of something better. To truly experience death we will not be able to come back and pass on the information despite all those near-death stories ie. the story of Lazarus at the rich man’s table. As survivors, we only see death from one perspective-loss, grief and mystery. So it’s very easy to be afraid, to be very afraid. The bible discussed this issue to perhaps help us to understand that there truly is nothing to fear or maybe that our true fear is not having the opportunity to have an everlasting life with God.
PS. If I am wrong, then the pie is in my face, we’ll just have to wait and see.