Welcome to Episode #77 of Preparing for the Inevitable – A Podcast on How to Handle Trouble, Suffering, Pain, and Death.
I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast will help you get ready to face the inevitable unpleasant things that will happen in your life — things like trouble, suffering, sickness, and death — the death of people you love and your own death. Trouble, suffering, and death are common threads that run throughout all of humanity. They are inescapable. You will never meet a person who has not, is not, or will not experience these terrible things in life. Yet, we attempt to hide from these inevitabilities, to pretend they don’t exist or that they won’t happen to us. Our world is filled with news of people dying, children suffering, entire government systems and organizations enduring trouble and turmoil, but we tend to see these as things that only happen to “other people” and never to us. Trouble, suffering, and death come equally to all people, of all races, from every socio-economic status, of every religion, in every country of the world. It makes us all equal. This podcast will show you how to accept these realities of life, and not just cope, but face trouble, suffering, and death in your own life and in the world with confidence, courage, class, and most of all, with faith, hope, and charity.
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
The featured quote for this episode is from Matthew Henry. He said, “Tears are a tribute to our deceased friends. When the body is sown, it must be watered. But we must not sorrow as those that have no hope; for we have a good hope through grace both concerning them and concerning ourselves.”
Our topic for today is titled “Eternal Presence, Part 1” from the book, “The Art of Dying: Living Fully into the Life to Come” by Rob Moll.
Finally, the church builds a culture of resurrection when it fosters a sense of the universal body of Christ, across geography and through time. Those who have died are still present with us as members of the body of Christ. Death has not severed that spiritual relationship. All is not over at our final breath, neither for the dead nor those still alive. The dead, of course, go on to a greater and fuller life with God. Those still alive, however, are not entirely severed from the great body of Christians no longer walking the earth, though our churches have largely forgotten our brothers and sisters “asleep in Christ.”
Old church buildings and those Christian communities that maintain their centuries-old traditions provide a stark contrast with modern churches in how they remember–even live among–their dead brothers and sisters. Until the nineteenth century, church buildings were often graveyards, with walls and floors holding the bones of those who worshiped in ages past. Walking into such a church today may seem creepy or morbid at first, but from a spiritual perspective these gatherings of the faithful are alive with the prayers, the history, the culture, the faith of generations.
The converted Orthodox poet Scott Cairns writes of his discovery of the Orthodox attitude toward the dead, which more closely resembles that of Christians from nearly any era but the modern. “For starters,” he says, “the dead are unlikely to be spoken of as dead. They are asleep. Since the resurrection, Christian people do not die per se. They fall asleep. They are said to have fallen asleep in the Lord.”
Cairns was at first disturbed by the Orthodox practice of burying without embalming, out of respect for the integrity of the body. Orthodox funeral services include open caskets with the dead body in full view. “I was initially startled,” he says, “then strangely moved.” While our culture hides from death, Cairns’s congregation was comfortable, unafraid, and welcoming. “Throughout the liturgy that followed, family and friends continued to worship by [the deceased’s] side. Children and adults both turned to him throughout the service, as if to see if he was comfortable, attending to him as if he were still present.”
Comparing this loving and respectful attitude to the death of his own father, Cairns writes, “We missed out on most of this.” After a two-day struggle in which his father struggled just to breathe, the ordeal finally ended. “We wept, of course, but we had little in our experience to help us attend as fully to his body… as might have or as, perhaps, we should have.”
And the Orthodox maintain their reverent attitude toward the dead long after anyone alive remembers who they are. In the monasteries of Mount Athos, Cairns writes of basements full of bones, and of monks who proudly call them “my brothers.” Indeed they are. The living Christians and the dead are still of one body, still of one hope.
If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at “Eternal Presence” in our next podcast.
Let’s Pray —
Dear friend, please understand that after you die, you will be ushered into one of two places to spend eternity, Heaven or Hell. Here’s how you can be sure that you will not go to hell and suffer eternal damnation forever and rather have a home in Heaven when you die. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Here’s how you can be saved from sin and hell and have a home in Heaven when you die in more detail.
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”