Friday, April 10, 2020

Endings | Good Friday 2020

It seems noteworthy to me that nowhere in the Bible do we have anyone reporting back on the nature of the afterlife. Oh, Jesus speaks with Elijah and Moses at the Transfiguration, Paul has his visions, and the Book of Revelation gives us bizarre symbols that are often interpreted as pertaining to life after death, but no one dies and comes back to tell us what it's like on the other side. Certainly there was speculation from the earliest days of the church, and writings that attempted to fill in the blanks, but none of that became canonical scripture. Even the story of Lazarus, with him being in the grave for 4 days before Jesus restores him to life, is bothered with questions in the text about what, if anything, he witnessed beyond the veil of death.

The emphasis, for all the visions and otherworldly visitations, is very earthly. Between death and resurrection, there is no description.
"And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there."John 19:42 NRSV
The death of Jesus was viewed by his friends and family as the end of a life, a dream, and a hope. His cold, lifeless body was laid out hastily in burial, and that was it.
"If I close my eyes forever, will it all remain unchanged? If I close my eyes forever, will it all remain the same?" — Close My Eyes Forever, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, 1989
We seek some comfort in the thought of a continuation of life after death. All that the Bible offers us is this life in this reality, even factoring in resurrection.

Whatever else anyone thinks happened two days after Jesus' burial, it happened here in this world. And it is this life that we must face, deal with, and make the most of, until we are no longer able.