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Just a doorway to another room

Wednesday, June 2, 1999

Mark 12:27
Jesus says, "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

One of our newspaper customers lives across from a big cemetery. For two weeks before Memorial Day she creates colorful flower arrangements and sells them to people visiting their family graves.

Why do we put flowers on our graves? We take the time to clean up the areas and make them beautiful; we feel renewed love and respect for our parents, children, friends, family; our memories rekindled, our sadness flowing once again, our joy sparkling in the summer sunlight as we touch their lives with ours one more time.

There is nothing about death in these rituals. Death may be fascinating to us at times, but it is usually because we are so curious about what is on the other side. We are alive, and we celebrate life on Memorial Day.

Jesus' words are a clarion call through the fog of grief and despair that initially accompany our loss: "Life continues through death; I will be your God on the other side of death. Life is an experience of infinite extension far greater than you can comprehend while you carry around your body. Your body is a temporary container for you, but you will live forever. And I will be your God forever."

Grappling with thoughts about life and death often entangle me in contradiction and confusion, until I listen to the clear words of Jesus. Then death takes its simple place as a doorway to another room of life with God, and I can enjoy more fully than ever my day today in the sun.

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