Learning to Die Better – New Life Family Meeting

Posted: December 13, 2007 in faith
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I attended the New Life Family Meeting last night.  The pastors from the Colorado Springs area were invited to the meeting to show solidarity and compassion for their congregation.  It was truly amazing.  They had the group of pastors sit in the front on stage left – the stage there is in the round, so that is a rough estimation, and they had all the first responders sit in the middle.  I was on the isle, about three rows back from the front, and on the side closest to the first responders… it was really cool to see all the police in their uniforms sitting with their families in the center section.  There were Firefighters, Paramedics, Police, and Politicians.  Then there was the service itself.

The service was made up of lots of Worship.  If you know anything about New Life you know that it has AWESOME Worship.  Ross Parsley wrote the “I Am Free” song that is sung in many churches through out the Nation, and the “Desperation Band” has CD’s out too, it is a more youthful style, but still from New Life.  So imagine, all these civil servants watching 6000 people Worship God in the midst of this tragedy.  They were obviously blown away.  The crowd stood for 3 minutes at least in appreciation to their heroic efforts, and there were many tears in that section.  How can you watch all this and not wonder about what Christians believe?  How can they have such hope in the midst of such tragedy?  How do you sing songs of praise and adoration of God when just 3 days ago pure evil was in your building attempting to cause deep deep pain?

Interestingly to me, I was reminded of a description from early church history…

In Smryna in 155 AD, a Bishop named Polycarp was put to death.  He was to be burned at the stake.  The Romans went to tie him up, and he told them there would be no need to do so, that he would sit and not try to escape.  So they set him on fire… the flames could not overcome him, so he asked that they stab him in the heart with a dagger.  The blood that came out put out the flames, but he did die.  But the public consensus was that there is a great difference in how people die between those that follow Christ, and those that don’t. (Source:  Henry Bettenson and Chris Maunder, eds. Documents of the Christian Church, 3d. ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 13.)

Why is there such a noticeable difference in how people die and how they deal with death?  I believe it is called hope.  Trusting in something bigger than yourself and knowing that as you develop the relationship with Jesus and it changes your life, eternity is nothing to fear, but instead look forward to.  Knowing Jesus changes your perspective on everything, from the early days of the Church, to today when the Church is dealing with death in it’s hallways…  Death becomes just a gateway to something beyond.  So what is your “beyond”?  Have you thought much about it?  Have you wrestled with the issues in your heart?  Where are you be in the process?  I would love to hear from you about these questions…

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