In life few things are guaranteed, but change, and death are certainly among them. Sometimes we ascribe value and/or meaning to these. Often times they make us uncomfortable and because of that we do what we can to avoid them. Change can be difficult because it takes us out of what we know and introduces us to something new, something unknown. Experiencing something new and unknown can be uncomfortable or even frightening, especially if what we currently know and experience is comfortable and familiar. Similarly death often stirs up fear within us; fear of pain, fear of grief, or fear of loss. Whether it is our own death we fear or that of another, fear of death can make us hesitant if not immobilize us entirely. Fear that comes with change and death is perfectly understandable, especially if looked at through an evolutionary lense. Humans are hardwired for survival and the fear of the unknown that comes with change might protect us from venturing somewhere we cannot survive. Our survival instinct is meant to keep us and our group alive, so it is easy to see why death is the cause of so much fear and anxiety in life.
In the midst of life’s changes and death itself, it can at times be difficult to find hope or meaning. Yet as followers of Jesus we share story of good news, that even in the midst of the inevitability of change and death there is hope. We are currently in the season of Easter, 50 days following Easter Sunday, when we remember and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Easter reminds us that death does not have the final say, that as inevitable as death might be there is life that follows. In his death Christ has overcome death and in his resurrection he brings a new and everlasting life to the world. In our baptism we proclaim that we are buried with Christ in his death and raised with him to new life in his resurrection. We are included in the life that comes after death and in this we can find immeasurable hope.
As we find a hope in the resurrection to counter the fear that comes with death so too can we find hope in the Holy Spirit in the midst of life’s unpredictable and uncomfortable changes. Though we may not be able to see the outcome of life’s changes ahead of time we can trust in the promise that God the Holy Spirit is with us in the midst of them and always working in them for our good and the good of all creation. Just as we are raised to new life with Christ in his resurrection, so to is God working constantly to transform us more and more into the image of Christ. If there is any change in which we can find comfort it is this, that God loves us just as we are and is working to change us, to transform us, into God’s own image. God doesn’t leave us where we started, but continually is working for our sanctification. God is working such changes in us that we might become whole and holy people.
Death is inevitable and it is often scary, but in Christ we are promised life beyond death. Change too is inevitable and likewise uncomfortable, yet God seeks to change us and our world for the better. If there is Good News, this must certainly be it, that Christ is alive and in him we are promised life and life abundant.
The Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!