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Land of the Dying

Over the years I’ve heard social commentators discuss our culture of death, how we are obsessed with death, and yet more terrified of it than nearly any other culture, and Christians are not exempt. I have to agree in large part with them.

Funerals used to be fairly simple affairs, but today they are a huge business, and the variety of ‘options’ one can select from is, well, remarkable, given the guest of honor is completely oblivious to them. One has to ask if it really helps those left behind.

We hide ‘public executions’ inside the prisons because they are considered poor taste, yet movies like “Faces of Death” show the most dramatic and disturbing life-endings caught on film, and many enjoy violent movies with a visceral desire to see the bad guys offed. (I have to confess I fall into this category more than I’d like to admit, cracking my own glass house.)

One reason our medicine is so advanced is because of our obsession with prolonging life and its quality. This is not inherently wrong, and indeed can be very Biblical, but like any ‘good’ thing, our motivations are revealing.

We worship the young, partly out of our fear of growing old, being less able to function, and closer to the grave.

So, it was with a pleasurable revelation on many levels that a guest bluegrass/Gospel band in church today played a song with the following chorus:

“I am leaving the land of the dying
To lay hold on eternal life
And the moment you see I’ve departed,
You’ll know I’ve safely arrived.”

It is worth a few minutes to meditate on these words.



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