For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. — The Apostle Paul, 1st century A.D.
Who says this kind of thing? I mean, what would possess a human being to write such an off-the-wall statement (and to write it honestly)? And how in the world did it ever become normal, even cliche? Sometimes I think that the whole concept of "key Bible verses" is an evidence of how calloused we are to mind-bending truth.
My Aunt Mitsu's homegoing is reminding me of all the things that homegoings remind you of. All the things you forget when you don't remember eternity. All the things you neglect when you get caught up in the here-and-now. All the things you wallow in when, for a season, you don't actively remind yourself of the forever-and-ever-and-everness of the glorious kingdom of God of which you are a chosen and blessed citizen.
"To live is Christ." Try applying that. Just try. I mean, what a personal revolution might take place if I took three weeks (twenty-one days) to meditate on what "to live is Christ" means and to apply it to every nook and cranny and corner of my life, from devotions to homework to sleeping patterns to conversations to commuting to finances to brushing my teeth and putting on pajama pants. I say "pajama pants" not to be funny and not to be trite, but to try my best to communicate just how deep the dominion of Christ runs in the life of one who is truly His. And blessed are all those who embrace this dominion, those for whom living is, in a word, Christ.
"To die is gain." There are two words in this four-word sentence that do not go together without some serious explanation. And tonight, I hope and pray with all my heart that, for as long as I have life, I will be a walking explanation of this upside-down reality. "To die is gain."
I mean, who says this kind of thing? Who believes this stuff?