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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Faith Is: To flee not death

To flee not death:  the eighth faith characteristic listed in Alton’s letter is another way of stating “to face death victoriously.”  Christian’s belief in Christ’s resurrection and eternal life serves to explain how Christians can face death victoriously.  Death in the light of eternal life almost seems trivial.  A related concept is formulated from the belief that one can die serving the will of the Eternal.  There is a real sense in which Martin Luther King, Jr. died in victory for he died serving the eternal purposes of love.  It is clear that he understood well the constant jeopardy that his actions in this service placed his life.  But for him, death was no threat from which to flee or hide in terror.  In the face of eternal purposes and ultimate concerns, death had to take a subordinate place.  We can see this same willingness to put values above life in the example of witnesses serving with resolute generosity in our everyday walk.  Ordinary folk often are unwavering (and thereby when necessary seen as courageous) in their service to principles and values in their communities.  And, of course, we must not forget official first responders of all kinds who always stand ready to put service to others ahead of themselves—even to the point of death.  To flee not death in the light of mortality and fragility would seem to be impossible.  In fact we find that while no one wants to die, there is abundant evidence that under the right conditions and priorities people willingly do so.

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