“I die daily.”
~ First Corinthians 15.31
Funerals. No one likes them, right? Well, except for morticians perhaps! And death, like politics and religion, is a subject to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Whether it is because of the resultant grief, the mystery that shrouds it or fear of our own demise, death is not something that we like to talk about.
Or, maybe, it is because America loves life and Americans love living it to the fullest. We pride ourselves on this freedom and will march, vote, fight and die for it. But, death does not allow for that sort of freedom. When it arrives, there is no place that we can go, no need to protest, no amount of ballots or signatures that will effect change and no way to combat it. Death is final and we have no say in it. This is why we don’t like it come around. Death is stubborn and only God can change its mind.
This is also probably why I have never heard a sermon on Paul’s words to the church at Corinth. Death is inevitable and unavoidable but we don’t want to think about it now, especially if we are in good health. There is no need to prepare for death and certainly not to die daily as Paul does, right?
I think that we have it wrong, that our lives should always smell of death as there is much about us that should be allowed to live within us as believers. Anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, malice and jealousy are just a few examples of things within us that are deserving of death. I would add to this list racism, prejudice and stereotyping.
Sweet Lord, let the funerals begin with me. I want to die to the belief that the social coloring of my skin makes me better than others. Take away my pride. I want to die to the belief that I am to live my life in comparison to others. Take away my jealousy. I want to die to the belief that I don’t have to forgive as if the victims of racism, prejudice or stereotypes are above your commandments. Take away my unforgiveness, hatred and bitterness. I want to die to the belief that their is a social hierarchy, a “pigmentocracy,” that ranks our importance based on our social coloring and physical features. Take away the gods that I have created. I want to die daily to race. Amen.