I was out for a bike ride this morning. It was ok. I had run pretty hard yesterday, so my legs were a bit tired. I was finishing up the ride, when something caught my attention.
I passed two older men walking on the sidewalk. I recognized the two men. One was a guy who lived down the street. He was walking slowly and with a cane. The other guy was a retired pastor, walking with the other man. The first man caught my attention because I knew who he was. I always remember him as a vibrant retiree who drove a BMW and was full of life. Here he was now, walking with a cane, looking 20 years older than I last remember him. He looked old – as if death had been knocking on his door, maybe walking with him, waiting until the right time to strike.
I felt my mortality in that moment. Here I was exercising and feeling energetic and full of life. And I was passing by someone who looked like death was closing in. I felt my mortality in realizing, or rather, remembering yet again, that death comes to all of us. It is a sure thing. It takes away our lives.
But as I rode by, I also knew the retired pastor walking with the other man. It was a sign to me that even though death comes to all, Christ walks with us, even in our death and our dying. It was a reminder that death does not have the final say – Christ has triumphed over death. So, there may be a temporary victory for death and a temporary extinction in death, but our faith tells us that this is not the way the story ends. For Christians, we believe in resurrection. We don’t know what that resurrection looks like, or how it happens, or any of the details. That’s not really what is important. In the end God wins, and because of this, we share in the joy.