It is still rare for me to attend or conduct a funeral where someone has lived a long life. As a congregation, we are relatively young, and those who have died amongst us have died at a younger age, often unexpectedly. In our community, AIDS claimed so many young lives. In my own family, surviving to the age of 70 is quite an achievement. On these occasions, there are emotions of shock and perhaps anger, questions about why someone has died, the thwarted dreams of a life cut short, In contrast, Margaret’s gentle slipping away after a life well lived seemed to complete the circle of life, and the overwhelming sense I had in the church was one of gratitude. Her family and friends will miss her a great deal, but this was a ‘good death’.
Soon, we will be marking the death of Jesus. A young life cut brutally short. In those hours after his death, the shock and confusion amongst his followers must have been profound. How could all that he had done and said come to this terrible end? Every Good Friday, there is something so powerful for me to hear the passion story, with its betrayal, cruelty and injustice. If we read this story on the Amnesty International website today, we would be outraged. The human story of Jesus ends in the tomb. I listen in shock on Good Friday to end of all goodness. In the darkness of the tomb, God is at work. For me, the resurrection of Christ is the ultimate proof of his divinity. All humans die. Christ overcame death. We follow God made human and living amongst us.