I’ve never understood the saying, ‘peace with death’, I’ve ‘made my peace with death’. Who are these people who make peace with death? First of all, is it even possible? Death being the Grim Reaper, at least that’s how I see it. Horror films, Greek tragedies, sad love stories, they all depend on death being a horrible thing. So this stupid saying, peace with death, by my lights, is not only an anomaly, it’s a lie, and anyone who thinks it’s possible to utter peace and death in the same sentence, as in death = peace, is either deceiving themselves, trying to deceive others, or perhaps in actuality mean ‘peace with saying goodbye,’ which is a topic for another essay, because I’m not so sure that’s possible either.
The human race is at war with death. It has been since recorded history. And while I’m sure there are many deathbed examples where the pain of being alive precludes the fear/finality of death, I think my point still stands.
Every religion that I can think of exists in an effort to fend off death: Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, even atheism, where dying means ceasing to exist (or being frozen beside Walt Disney so you can both be unfrozen sometime around 2070 and resume your respective creative endeavors), Egyptian kings and princes buried in massive tombs who tried to take all their gold stuff with them. There must be a way not to die. Death makes no sense, because what are we if not alive. I think therefore I am. I love therefore I am. I am loved therefore I am. I am loved therefore I am. I am loved therefore I am. I am loved…
From a very young age I was afraid to die, in fact, probably more afraid than most kids: I was afraid of microwaves (cancer), airplanes (failed engines and bolts coming loose), tall buildings (I was pretty sure they could randomly tip over), elevators (duh, the cables could break!), and hot dogs (yes, cancer again and I know, ironic because I now have cancer and have always avoided hot dogs and microwaves).
I have not and never will make peace with death. But then many people seem to have made peace with death; intentionally given themselves over to a greater cause. I think of John the Baptist, St. Stephen, Bonhoeffer, who, spiritually speaking anyway, all appeared to have it together and didn’t seem the tiniest iota afraid of death and darkness and whatnot.
All three of these examples are Christians, and I do realize there are those who have chosen death who aren’t Christians, like Socrates. But very quickly and very un-thoroughly, here are my thoughts on that: perhaps the way they deal with the death thing is to basically skip over it. It doesn’t exist and you just disappear, or it entails virgins and cold craft beer in large refrigerated bins, or unrefrigerated bins if you live in Scotland, or waking up surrounded by gold necklaces and bracelets and maybe a favorite mummified dog.
But Christians skip over the death thing too. And this is why I became a Christian. I think Jesus Christ really conquered death. Obliterated it. He loved me so much that he couldn’t imagine being without me; I am loved therefore I am. He, he, died instead of me. God died instead of me. What the hell? How does that even happen?
I have no idea.
But I’ll try to explain it like a tract would because—don’t judge me—I kind of like tracts. However, first, before I get to the good stuff, let me just say real quick what being a Christian is not:
-It doesn’t mean you go to church
-It doesn’t mean you’re pro-life
-It doesn’t mean you think Putin is the anti-christ (good possibility, but whatever)
-It doesn’t mean you are anti-gay
-It doesn’t mean you dig wells for impoverished villages
All of these things may or may not be true of you, or might change with time, but if you’re a Christian, what most certainly is true, is this:
1. God loves you and wants you to know him. He has a wonderful plan for your life (not necessarily film star, run marathon stuff, and not always easy, but still, a wonderful plan.) —John 3:17, 17:3.
2. People are sinful. Come on, seriously, people are sinful, or mean, or selfish, even if they try not to be which, all rolled into one, means they’re sinful. —Roman 3:23
3. People are separated from God. God is perfect. People are crappy even if they try not to be crappy. God can't hang out with crap. I always think of it like God is so light – like the sun – so any darkness can’t be near him, darkness can’t exist next to the sun. —Romans 6:23
4. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through him alone we can know God personally and experience God’s love and plan for us. —So back to the sun example, since we are dark (sinful) we can’t get close to the sun (God, perfection) so Jesus became a man, only he was perfect, because he was God, and died—a horrible death, I might add, which shows how deeply he loves us—in our place so we could be perfect—not that we’ll be perfect in this life, we won’t, we’ll still be plenty crappy—and be with God. Oh, geeze, It’s actually really simple, I hope I'm not making it sound complicated. — Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15: 3-6, John 14:6.
5. So this wonderful plan, God’s love, all of it, God wants you to know him. Basically, all you have to do is say yes. You can pray and just tell him you want to know him.—Revelation 3:20.
If you want to find out more go here: everystudent.com It’s great, and far more clear than I just made it.
I am loved therefore I am.
Peace with death my ass.