Death & Life

COVID 19. Passover. Quarentine. Easter.

What do they all have in common?

Death and Life.  

These past weeks of isolation has given much pause to the meaning dying to self. As we watch the news and hear of the destructiveness of this disease to not only our physical bodies but also to the fabric of our society it can seem like death is having its say.

But those of us who are in relationship with Jesus know that this is only part of the story even as Good Friday meant death on a cross, Easter means life and resurrection. So too Passover in this season has had a memorable impact as many have and are praying that this spirit of death will Passover our families, communities, Country and world.

And then this Quarantine…

A good friend recently spoke about how this time of pandemic has brought much healing and more understanding of the concept of death and life into her heart. It spoke to my heart in the moment and has begun to stir up previous encounters with the Lord about dying to self.

Then this scripture 2 Corinthians 4:6-12 came along in my daily reading. We are” always carrying in our flesh the death of Jesus”,” always being given over to death for Jesus’s sake”. The day to day struggles of not walking as closely as we ought, the moments of regret are opportunities to be given over to death.

“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”  The words are familiar, and truths that we know, but today as we continue to “shelter in place” can we let them strike deeper.

 The thousand deaths we die, are the way of life. The death of Jesus being understood as the ultimate gift, his life exchanged for our freedom to have fellowship with the father, but can we comprehend that this death in ourselves is also a gift. The verse says, “so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies”. That the always being given over to death is for Jesus’ sake. This helps keep perspective on the “good” days and “bad” days.

The work of death is, as many have said before, like seeds buried in the ground, enclosed in darkness, so that the breaking open towards life can happen. Our “Corona-world” is time for embracing the dying. Dying to self-centeredness, dying to consumerism, dying to distracted living, dying to people pleasing, dying to individualism, dying to fear.

This the death, is not something we have to achieve for we are “always” being given over to death for the sake of Jesus. Who is doing the giving? “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” He has given us knowledge to know, to be able to, in death and darkness, birth new life.  

And now as we approach Pentecost and the possibility of “freedom” from our lock down, this new life is beginning to glimmer more. Pentecost being a time when Jesus ascended to heaven and the holy Spirit came down and brought a new way of being in Christ. The question that I am pondering is” what things will I, and should I resurrect?” What parts of my,” before” Covid-19, life does God want to breathe new life into and what parts should remain dead? This then is where intimate communication or prayer is so important.

How can we know what the Lord wants to breath his spirit on unless we ask. As we look towards this transition back into our world, I feel it is such an important time to seek the father’s heart and truly asses where and what should stay buried as well as what is truly essential to living more fully for the Lord. Are there places that have seemed to have suddenly filled you with a sense of purpose, peace and life?  Perhaps these are the areas that God is doing a new thing in.

2 Corinthians 4:6-12  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you."

-Dale Cupo, RCC Prayer Ministry Leader
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