They just made it official. Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 did crash into the Indian Ocean and all who were onboard have been lost to the sea. Our world has been gripped in the drama of this international land/sea/air investigation. And as we waited and wondered, we were filled with anxiety, not knowing what to think. At the beginning we hoped that they’d landed safely somewhere, and couldn’t get a message out. Then, our fear got the best of us- was this an act of terror? What nefarious plots were at play? Later, we marveled at the vastness of the earth, that there still are places untouched by radar. As time went on, our hope faded, our fear lost its edge, and our wonder was replaced be dread. We knew, most of us.
And now it is no longer a point of speculation or conversation. Instead we’ve been shown again that each person spends his or her days walking the razors edge between life and death. As people of faith, how do we respond to that? After all, we who love Jesus are not immune to the dangers of the world…
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day… Psalm 139:7-12
This is the truth: God loves us. God has never left us-any of us- alone. There is no place in the world where God does not dwell. According to the Psalmist, from the heights of the sky, to the sides of mountains, to the depths of the sea, to the heart of Sheol (the place of the dead), God is with us. Truly, in life and in death, we belong to God.
Especially in this season of Lent we remember that we all will die, and that our deaths, no matter their newsworthiness, no matter their circumstances, have meaning only because of Jesus’ sacrificial life and death. Ultimately, death is just an entry to eternal life and everlasting communion with God.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” -John 11:25-26