The words don’t go together, Christian death. It’s an oxymoron, maybe it’s a diptych.
The following is a guest post by Rae Shrock. Rae is the editor and creator of the beautiful, slick, full color Daughters of Promise Magazine, available online and in hard copy.
“The magazine has expanded to include many gifted writers, photographers, and fellow visionaries who share a common passion to encourage women in their faith. DOP is unique in that it is primarily written by women of the Anabaptist denomination. We are a diverse mix, but we share a common love for set-apartness, experiential Christianity, and Jesus.”
In Memory of
Elizabeth Brewer Ward
Rae was inspired to write this article, which is almost a poem, by the Christian deaths of friends and neighbors near her. She is young, but death experiences reach us all on a deep and common level. Rae’s gift with words will bring her experience close to your heart and gently warm you with her hope and ours. The young mother, Elizabeth, whom she mentions toward the end is my precious daughter-in law. My son is the husband who awoke that morning a widower. Her three young children are my full-of-life grandchildren.
Thank you, Rae, for bringing us all the Light of Hope in this article.
The Last Amen
By Rae Schrock
We live to die.
From the first filling of virgin lungs, the process begins.
Life. It is framed by the handles of time: when we begin, and when we end.
Grasped by the Giver and handed to us, a gift of grace.
Life is a gift.
And to most radiantly honor the Giver, the gift of life lived must glorify Him. Must be full to the brim of worship, one breath after another,
Inhaling Christ. Exhaling praise.
So, as we live to worship, we die to say ‘Amen’.
Could this be the point of it all? To have lived so well that the last breath I draw simply echoes the brevity of all my time here, an exclamation point to the life He gave? God, glorified. Christ, adored. Worship pulsing, filling, spanning the whole of my one solitary life. Death, pronouncing the awe-choked, hands-raised ‘Amen’, to a life fully lived. A glorious ‘Let it be’ to the worship of a life fully laid down to Christ.
If I live to worship,
If I live to die,
Then let death be my final declaration of love. Let it be shouted from my slow- beating heart and emptying lungs that HE was why I lived. That every moment; every bead of choking grief, exhausting labor, tempestuous trial, was encapsulated in the radiant joy of being His. Pearls strung along the strand of time, my every moment was meaningful because it was for Him.
I see the Garden. And beyond, the cross. I glimpse the Son of Man, torn with grief, writhing against the weight of humanity’s sins & the crushing blows of death itself, laying open tattered ribbons across His back. And as blood-caked, sun-scorched lips part to breathe last words, the words that split sky, shook earth, slashed listening ears of demons, & leaped in the hearts of every man who has caught their reverberations throughout the ages; as Jesus embraced what all humanity must, He embraced us more.
It is finished.
Not life, but death!
The words thunder in my heart. They shatter fear, split doubt … Continue reading