Posted by: everynation | October 26, 2007

I don’t live here

by Joseph Bonifacio

joe.jpgI’ve been thinking about death the whole day since it’s the topic at our youth service in Festival Mall. Last week, we were shooting the video for it, and Friday I was working on my sermon. Then the news came of the bombing at Glorietta, and more updates continued to arrive.

It really served to underscore how fragile human life really is. (Wow, thanks for that, Mr. Blinding Flash of the Obvious!) And with life on earth being this temporary, it makes the question of an afterlife even more prominent. As I read up on Bible verses that talked about death, I was struck by how much of the Christian faith is really meant for what lies after death.

Sometimes, I find myself so caught up with the here and now, that I forget that Jesus died primarily to save my soul from Hell so that I could be with God forever. The other benefits are great (blessings, healing, comfort when I’m down, etc) but those are all secondary. It’s when I focus on the temporal things, the things that won’t last, that I become stressed, frantic, panicky, and impatient. But those few and rare times that I can appreciate what lies beyond, I find myself calmed and ready to take on anything.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I love being blessed. (I mean, I just came back from a free trip to the US, complete with accommodation and transportation. So, thank you, Lord, for the blessing!) But, I realize that that’s not what it’s all about. God could take it all away, and it would be okay, coz it would be nothing compared to the joys of what lies beyond.

I love how CS Lewis described it in the Great Divorce. How people who entered Heaven from Earth were like tiny people suddenly growing in size to live life in the real world. That’s where life really begins. And that is why we can face death with peace knowing that it’s only a passage.

I even started thinking about what I’d like my funeral to be like. And I don’t want it to be sad at all. I mean, mourn with my family and comfort them, please. But don’t mourn too much for me. Because I’ll have entered into something better by then.

Now, I don’t have a death wish. I’m not fascinated by death. But I don’t fear it either. Like one of our youth leaders said earlier today, “It’s a non-issue.” There is no point in meditating on it, because it’s inevitable for everyone, and for those in Christ it is powerless. Why bother ourselves over what can’t be changed and what can’t harm us?

No, let’s hold on to this life loosely. I believe when we have made our peace with death by putting our trust in Christ’s Resurrection, we can truly begin to live this life to the fullest. Let’s do what God’s called us to do, meet who He’s called us to meet, and be what He’s called us to be. And when He calls us home, we can let go with ease, knowing that we will see His face and our joy will be complete.

Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:16)

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 91Corinthians 15:54-55)

Joseph Bonifacio is a youth pastor at VCF – Alabang in the Philippines, author of the blog “Serious Joe,” and a serious fan of cheese.

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Responses

  1. joe!! you’ve been plogged! congratulations! =)

  2. Hey Joe,

    I like the picture. It reminds me that I have a test on the anatomy of the skull and brain in 30 days (they are both fascinating creations). Please keep me in prayer for my test, but also the classmates God has put around me to reach for him.

    God Bless, Josh


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