Skip to main content

A Helpful Perspective on Growing Old and Dying

In the book, The Word Leaps the Gap, there is an excellent article by Richard Hays titled, 'The Christian Practice of Growing Old.' He has some excellent insight on the New Testament's answer to the problem of death. He argues that Jesus' resurrection affirms God's firm, resolute commitment and faithfulness to his creation, us as humans and creation as a whole. Our bodies will one day be redeemed when we are resurrected like Jesus was, which means that what we do with our aging bodies matters. Also, Jesus resurrection, which overcame the power of sin and death should give us hope and take away our fear of dying. Hays goes on to say that,
In such confidence inspired by the New Testament's testimony, we are set free from the paralysis that the fear of death produces in our culture: we need not deceive ourselves with costly amusements that distract us from the truth of our mortality and foster the illusion that we are immortal. Likewise we are set free from the frantic urgency to forestall death at all costs: we need not grasp at life or harness every medical technology at our disposal. We can look death in the face without fear, because we trust in the promise of the resurrection. This means that the practice of growing old can be characterized by a sober confidence, no matter what trials and complications we face. As Christians we are people trained to die. We have been trained for this from our childhood by focusing, week in and week out, on the story of the cross and resurrection. We need not avert our eyes from our own death, for our identity is grounded in the crucified Messiah who has gone before us through death and resurrection (p. 663 emphasis mine).
I am still in my youth, but this has hit home with me. I can't say that I've trained myself well to die; I fear growing old and dying. But what is there to fear? We have one who has gone before us, providing us the certainty that we too can pass from death into abundant life.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Aquinas and Conclusion

When we reach Aquinas we come to the pinnacle of orthodoxy when it comes to the Trinity and Christology. Christology was important to Aquinas and he dedicated the first fifty-nine questions of Tertia Pars of his Summa Theologiae[1] to the topic. In many ways it is refreshing because he does not treat solely the more philosophical questions of who Jesus was that preoccupied theologians from the third century on. He also spent extended time on Jesus earthly ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification which was a major innovation.[2] Of course every possible topic of Trinitarian and ontological speculation is also probed. For the sake of space we will only hit some highlights.

Aquinas is clearly in step with the tradition that can be traced from Nicea, through Augustine and the Lombard, to the heart of the Middle Ages. One thing to briefly note is that even in his densest argumentation, Aquinas was not trying to prove elements of his theology via rational argument as that…

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Irenaeus

Starting from Irenaeus, Christology, in some respects, moves on. A big part of this would have been due to the “gnostic” controversies. It became increasingly important to clarify the relationship between Father and Son and to minimize their distinctiveness, while still maintaining Jesus’ full humanity. From this point on, clashes over heresy about the nature of Christ and discussions related to Trinitarian theology dominate Christological discussion to the point that the original emphasis on Jesus’ Messianic identity fades to the background.[1] Maintaining the affirmation that Jesus was both human and divine was critical for Irenaeus and those after him because they saw that as the necessary grounds of salvation.[2]

Of particular interest to Irenaeus was the baptism of Jesus. What happened when he received the Spirit?[3] It was not the means by which the Word entered Jesus. He was not merely human before that point.[4] Rather it was a divinization of the human nature of Jesus, a nat…

End of Summer Review/Update

The school year is now upon us and I'll definitely not be posting the next two months. This summer didn't quite go to plan so I didn't get to do the blogging I was hoping to do. Specifically I was planning on blogging through 2 Thessalonians, but that didn't happen. It may happen late in the fall, but we will see. I may instead decide to pick up a different Pauline letter (perhaps 2 Corinthians). This is my last year of school  and by the fall of next year I should be back on a more regular blogging schedule.

A lack of blogging was not from a lack of productivity (although I'm sure my Pokemon Go playing did cut into my reading time a little bit). I've had a interesting summer learning about Medieval Christianity and specifically focusing on Peter Lombard and Thomas Aqunias. They'll both be featured in my next paper in Exploring the Christian Way which I hope to publish here in late January of 2017. 90% of the reading and 80% of the writing is done for that …