5–11 April 2015.
What does it mean to be human? This is a hard question, and one with lots of answers. But one thing we know is that to be human means having a beginning and an end. It means being limited, being one of God’s creatures. God is unlimited, but we find our limit in God.
As verses 3–10 tell us, God stands above us, he is greater than us, greater than our own short lives, greater than the universe, greater even than time: to God, a thousand years is like nothing. Young people may feel like they will live forever; the proud may feel like their power is unlimited; but in the end all finite creatures discover their limits when they stand in front of the infinite God.
C.S. Lewis reminds us that “Everything that has a beginning must have an end.” But how do we understand that end? For this psalm’s writer, our deaths come from God’s anger, wrath, and punishment. God’s anger brings all things to an end.
But for us Christians, we know that life isn’t so hopeless. For us Christians, we know that death must come, but that is not because we are cursed and hated by God for our sin. Through Christ, we know that our relationship to God is one that is based on God’s grace and healing, on his amazing love for us. Through Christ, we know that the Good Shepherd is the one who loves and cares for his sheep, the one who lays down his life for his sheep, not the one who rejects and destroys them in terrible anger.
This is the great gospel message we remember now during Easter: that God didn’t reject us or condemn us because of our sin. Instead while we were still sinners, he died for us. While we were still sinners and unable to help ourselves, he came and saved us. Because of Christ, we live and die under God’s grace.
So while death must still come, we know that it can never separate us from Christ and his love. While death must still come, we know now that it is the doorway that leads us to resurrection and new life together with Christ.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis