8.1.12

Mortality and love

I don't often realise how quickly a life can end. It's not unusual to wonder, about life and death and all the in between. But to remember how fragile we are, that we are in fact not immortal...it exposes many of the illusions we build our lives around.
New Zealand has had it rough this year. My people have hurt. We have suffered continuous major earthquakes in Christchurch which killed 181 people. A mining disaster in the South Island fatally trapped 29 miners underground in the Pike River coal mine. Just in the last few months over the Christmas period, 18 people have been killed in road accidents, and numerous people have drowned over the summer break. And now, today, 11 people have died after a hot air balloon got caught in a power line and caught fire, crashing in the Wairarapa region.

My heart breaks for all those people affected by these tragedies this year. At a time where we are supposed to be celebrating the new year and looking forward to 2012, I find myself unable to get past the hurt that these families must be feeling after the loss of someone so loved. I look toward the new year, and it seems that I take the idea that I am alive to see it for granted. How quickly could that gift be taken away from me? How abruptly could our very world fall apart? Our lives are built up of the misconception that we are immortal. We drive fast cars, we strive to live longer, to live more beautifully. Even after out death, we strain out the very last vestiges of life possible, burying ourselves with our riches and our memories, bound to the memories that haunt graveyards. Yet, when the very fact or our mortality hits us, what do we do? The illusion is broken. I am no longer immortal; I am painfully aware of my weakness and my frailty. I feel Gods breath in me and His heartbeat sustaining me and it feels that much more precious, that much more miraculous, that much more delicate. Nothing will keep me alive. No one, no thing, has power over this breath. 

Except for my God. The God who was spat on and crucified, and then rose from His grave and defeated death for each and every one of us. I have no choice but to cling on to Jesus. His love is found at the bottom of the despair felt during each of these deaths. His love is the love that overcomes death every day. Love serves then, if memory doesn't, and passion, apart from its tense relation to agony, labours beneath the shadow of death. Passion is terrifying, it can rock you, change you, bring your head under, as when a wind rises from the bottom of the sea, and you're out there in the craft of your mortality, alone. His love is the beat of my heart, the tremble of my fingertips, the pulse in my veins. Because when we have nowhere left to turn, no illusions left to draw us in to the darkness, no misconceptions about ourselves and our existence, we are left naked and trembling. And then, we are able to find out where our help truly comes from.  


"You, God, are my God, 
   earnestly I seek you; 
I thirst for you, 
   my whole being longs for you, 
in a dry and parched land 
   where there is no water."
(Psalm 63)
"Those who sow with tears
   will reap with songs of joy. 
Those who go out weeping, 
   carrying seed to sow, 
will return with songs of joy."

(Psalm 126)




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