Well, this is my last reflection before Holy Week. It is sometimes hard to believe Lent is almost over. Where has the time gone? So next week we sink deeply into the final days of Christ on this earth. It is a journey to the cross – a journey from life to death and from death to life.
The complex interplay of life and death on the Christian journey is the highlight of Paul in 2 Corinthians today:
“[We are] always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
This crazy dance between apostolic weakness and divine power is the mystic and charm of Paul’s writing. He paints a picture of the complexity of faith – here life and death.
We talked about this just yesterday in our Thursday Noon Bible study! We have been studying the Gospel of John, and in many ways his trajectory is this same theme – that eternal life begins now, and is shown through abiding in Jesus (who died!). We glimpse heaven (and life) ironically through the fact that his death is at work in us.
We learn in the midst of Holy Week that the purpose of our lives is death – death to self so that Christ may live. We also learn that service and humility are essential components which don’t necessarily lead to being struck down, but instead with being lifted up. In service is exaltation. In death is life.
This kind of role reversal of death itself is the central conundrum of the Christian faith. We don’t shy away from death.
To the world, this may seem crazy. To us – perfect sense. Well maybe. We embrace the conundrum at least.