Do not think me strange of perverse that I have written a humorous piece on death. Maybe you won't think it is funny. Maybe faithwriters should create an 'attempted/failed humour' category. But humour is just the way I think, and my death is...well, it is really no more an event for me than scratching my ear. I mean my death, not others'. And I mean 'death' not 'bereavement'. And I mean the believer's death, not the sinner's death.
When I was a boy, I loved to hear Doris Day sing "Que Sera'. Some of the words were "Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, the future's not ours to see". Doris Day probably did more for my philosophical development at the age of about ten, than Wittgenstein did for me at University.I could understand Doris and sing along with her. Perhaps if they put Wittgenstein or Kant to music,I could have done better at philosophy.
Perhaps we do not know how many children we will have, or whether we will be rich or poor, but there are some certainties in the future for this world. People like to say "there are only two certainties: death and taxes". That is not quite correct. One can avoid taxes - technically. If you earn nothing and spend nothing, you can avoid them. But we cannot avoid death.
Whether we are poor or rich, or live in the desert or a big city. There are those who put their hopes in a cryogenic future- 'the frozen dead' I call them. But they still have to die first, so they are not really winning. Can you imagine the sign on their door at the cryogenic morgue "Wake me up only when you can guarantee immortality. But most of all, PLEASE DON'T TURN OFF THE POWER!!!" That must be why they call it cryogenics, it is enough to make you cry.
I love the old hymns. My favorite part is looking at the bottom where the hymn writer's name appears. I am always interested in when they lived and when they died. That bit of information teaches me what the creative life is all about - it is a puff of wind.
When I go to bed, I am certain that I will awake in the morning. Actually, I expect to wake up before that, but that is more due to the coffee or other liquids I drank before I went to bed. But this is a false certainty. Perhaps if I prayed that prayer that children learn: ' Here I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, but if I die before I wake, I ask the Lord my soul to take', it would keep me within the bounds of reality and help me not to live in false certainty.
But there is a certainty for believers. That certainty is much better than the 'que sera' of this life. It is one of the glorious paradoxes that believers can rejoice in. The certainty is that even if I cannot be sure that I will wake up after I go to sleep at night, I can be certain that when I eventually close my eyes in the sleep of death, I will awake.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. Psalm 17:15 ESV.
The certainty of the believer is not in this world, but we can be certain of what lies beyond death. Our Lord will wake us up.
I am sure looking forward to that prayer breakfast! I can just imagine it all:
Please hold the broiled fish.......I suppose I can't expect ham and eggs....just eggs, toast and coffee will be fine, Lord....please let me sit in front of You at the table......did I have my quiet time you ask?... before I died you mean?......sorry,I was sick.....yeah, I forgot to shave this morning....in fact I seem to have forgotten everything.... except You....You sure look good today............sorry, I can't help staring at You....forever......