As I look outside my window I am struck by something. It is autumn. The leaves are falling. And yet- no one seems to be terrified! How can this be? Do we not understand that these leaves produce the very air we breathe? They absorb the deadly CO2 that keeps global warming experts awake at night and converts it into life giving oxygen. And yet- here they are – falling, falling, falling. Colorful and lovely to behold, but nonetheless, dead upon the ground. The ground has become a graveyard of death and decomposition as far as the eye can see. Surely an ominous sign. Can we be far behind?
Yet as I search the cable news networks, the newspaper, and the Internet for any mention of this impending calamity, to my amazement, I find nothing. Nothing but travel reports singing the praises of fall foliage. Recommendations of how and when and where to see the best and the brightest before it all slips away. In fact, it seems that many are willing to travel back roads and byways in order to make the most of the death spectacle all around us. Some will even board planes and fly to places like New Hampshire and Vermont just to witness the destruction. How can this be? What is behind this puzzling attraction to death, dying, decay, and destruction? Especially in a culture known for its singular dedication to youth, beauty, and an obsession with endless life saving measures designed to beat back the Grim Reaper?
It would seem that at some level we all understand the cycle of life and death – at least as it pertains to nature. Everyone knows that death must occur in order to give way to life. Autumn, and the ensuing winter, are essential to the glorious new life of spring and it is the certainty of spring which allows for the beauty of seeing the leaves fall and die. At some level we know that the trees really aren’t dead. They merely have the appearance of death….
As it is in nature, so it is with those of us who are in Christ Jesus. To every single person will come a day of death and destruction of the physical body. This physical death is a necessary act for the renewing of our soul in the next kingdom. It is in the Kingdom of Heaven that we will find glorious spring and rebirth. In the same sense that the trees feel no sense of loss as their leaves are stripped away leaving them bare and exposed, we as Christians should feel no terror at the inevitable loss of our physical bodies, because we know that by faith we have been granted access to glorious, rapturous spring for all eternity. Amen.