At the time of writing this piece American minds are turning to the anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy. It’s not just any anniversary it’s the 50th. People are calling it a death that changed the world. Not so well known is the fact that the two other men, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley died on the same day as John F. Kennedy. Lewis, a Christian apologist, is best known for his “Narnia” stories, now made into movies. Huxley, a humanist, is best known for his book “Brave New World”. There would be fascinating studies to be made about comparing the visions of the world these three men, who died on the same day, had in their brains. Indeed, a novel has been written about it. Maybe we will re-visit that, but I would like to raise the matter of the transforming power of passing. Did JFK’s death affect you? Did Lewis’ or Huxley’s death affect you? Maybe- I don’t know. I do know, however, that somebody’s passing has affected you deeply. The closer the person,the more deeply you will have been affected. A husband, a wife, a child or a parent passing away leaves a mark in your soul which is complex and profound. As I write and you read, you will be aware of that impact in your own week of the absence of a person. Maybe you did lots of things together – no more. Maybe you argued a lot – no more. Maybe you longed for them to change – no more. But your heart is moved, somehow different now that they are gone. Death makes some people bitter and angry, others become mellow and vulnerable. Some find peace, some remain in turmoil. Most become a mixture. This is holy ground and I do not wish to intrude on your grief especially if it is new. I do wish, with great respect to you as a reader, to invite you to reflect on a passing many years ago and how much it has transformed you. I refer, of course, to Jesus of Nazareth. How has it affected you? Your answer can range from “in every way” to “no way” with all stages in between. Jesus called Himself ‘The way’. Huxley wanted to follow a different way. Lewis to argue for the way, Kennedy laid somewhere between. Here are some suggestions for you this week. Everybody born is affected in some way bf the death of the Nazarene. Whatever faith you have, or none at all, the global impact is there in every cross, in every church, in every Christian and every country. Second, His death can spell the end of the fear of death itself. Jesus taught that His death was going to overcome death and the events that followed demonstrated that. For His death means that death is not the end. Third, His death solves a mystery. How can I love, how can I work, how can I live, how can I die? All these questions find a home on that central cross. (This is the theme of my book, ‘Jesus and the Racing Rat’). Far from raising problems Jesus’ death solves them. His death is referred to as His work, and His work was to solve the biggest problems of all. Perhaps you may be asking how does that work out this week? There are nearly 500 answers to that in the Worktalk Weekly Archive and everything that Worktalk produces, but I will focus on one. Has Jesus’ death resulted in you being conscious of taking a cross with you every day? This consciousness can only come from the Spirit of God and you will know it if you have it. Jesus’ death will also help you to see your death differently as well as your grief. In the quiet moments of tears and memories which will intrude into your thoughts when you are trying to work, His voice can be heard saying “I know, I know”. You can lean back on His chest and let Him hold you with all your questions, anger, confusion, loneliness or despair. He will listen to your endless memories and share the warmth of your lost loves. Perhaps He will inspire you to honor those who have gone before in a new way and cherish those who are still here. If you will let Him He will give you the courage to be honest about your loss, and your trust. He will be there in the best and worst of your times this week and He will have transformed you in every possible way. Bible sections Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all : “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. John 17: 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
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