When I was growing up, May was one of my favorite months because it brought both an ending and a beginning. The end of school was here, and the beginning of summer. I was happy for both. I liked school and would miss many things about school, but I wasn't unhappy that it was finished for awhile. Summer brought with it a myriad of activities and possibilities - fishing, summer ball, swimming, the list was endless!
Memorial Day was one of my favorite holidays as it marked this significant transition from the classroom to the great outdoors. I had never really thought much about this before until recently, but there is a bit of irony in this outlook.
Memorial Day is a time set aside to honor those who have made a significant transition. They have passed from life as we now know it into eternity. For those who die in Christ, this is a time of hope. Even as the end of the school year was a bit bittersweet to me, the end of life as we know it is bittersweet. We miss those who have left us; however, for those who go to be with the Lord, a new and better reality has dawned for them. This is true for all of us who follow Christ. We enjoy our life here, but we realize our death means the beginning of a new life with Christ that is far better.
Paul speaks of this in Philippians 1:21-24, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body."
Even as May marks a beginning and an ending, so death marks a beginning and an ending. A big difference is that with May, what ended is longer in duration that what is beginning. With death, what ends cannot be compared to what is to come in either duration or in experience. Being with Christ is "better by far".Dr. Steve Willis - Pastor