James A. Washington

To Christians, life and death are part of a belief system that should affect how we live. Faith and death are inextricably connected. Understandably, one must die to this world and be reborn to the next. We believe Christ died physically and overcame that death in order for us to access eternal life as the blessing that it is from the Father.

This whole life and death-and-life thing can be confusing, and at times overwhelming, which is where faith comes in. For those who claim faith in the reality of Jesus Christ, our facts are sometimes based on what we cannot see, touch or understand. Believers know life, eternal life, exists on many levels. Death by itself is neither the beginning nor the end of anything. Life and death are the continuation of an existence that has always been here. Our living is but a temporary form of eternal life. Our faith demands more than a leap. It demands intellectual enlightenment.

If you believe in electricity, you know when you turn on a light switch, the room you’re in will become illuminated. You act accordingly. If you don’t believe in electricity, light switches and bulbs have a very different meaning for you. If you believe in Christ, your view of death is totally different from someone who doesn’t. That knowledge does not make the transition from this life to the next any easier. It does, however, put some things about this life into perspective.

I am now at an age where my mortality should be embraced, given the faith I have about my immortality. After all, we’re supposed to walk by faith and not by sight. To do so demands that we accept a yet-to-be-experienced consciousness that is the foundation of our belief in the life and death and life of Jesus Christ.

The specter of your or my death should not keep us from meeting each day, each person, each situation and circumstance anew and refreshed in the opportunity to experience life again and again, anew each and every day. What we go through, including pain and suffering as well as joy and happiness, is essential to the eternal cycle of life.

Through faith Christians believe all things are possible because God is capable of accomplishing anything. That includes overcoming death. That includes acknowledging our own immortality with Him. Hence, death is God’s business, as is life. Faith allows us to put it all in his hands. It is but one step closer to God.

In many cultures, worldly death is looked upon as cause for celebration. This is, or should be, the same for Christians. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you the devil will put some of you in prison to test you and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life. He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” Revelations 2:10-11.

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