The House of Mourning

“Check out this fun estate sale,” my savvy antiquing friend texted. It was open on a Saturday morning in my neighborhood, so I drove over and walked in the front door. From that moment, it seemed wrong. Cupboards and dresser drawers stood open. Price tags were affixed on the half used bottle of laundry soap. A pile of mid-century books in Norwegian lay on a desk next to the pilot’s log with the first six pages removed. A bust of Abraham Lincoln ($20) sat on top of the antique inlaid grand piano ($625). Tupperware and tea sets, tools and wooden tulips. A whole life, in situ, for sale.

Satan, the crafty serpent in the Garden of Eden lied to Eve about death.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die…”

Gen 3:1-4

It’s a lie humanity has believed ever since. We tell ourselves, “You will not surely die,” and then seem surprised when the truth is upon us.

“Death is a robber,” my pastor said this morning. It is indeed. In the last week, more friends have been stolen. A wife was left behind, a daughter, parents, a son. And we again mourn the brokenness of the world.

“It is better,” the Preacher said in Ecclesiastes, “to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, for the living will take it to heart.”

What do we take to heart?

  1. All flesh is grass. Scorching heat dries the grass of the desert into brittle tinder. It is green today and gone tomorrow. Life is short and we are going to die. Isaiah 40:6-8
  2. We hold precious treasure in jars of clay. God has shown the glorious light of His Gospel into our hearts, and “though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.” Weak, feeble, dying followers of Jesus have glorious Good News to share with all who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
  3. Not even death can separate us from God’s love. Our lives have been predestined, called, justified, and glorified to make much of God. “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all” will grant us life now and in the life to come. Romans 8
  4. Jesus’ death and resurrection give us hope of life to come. We walk by faith because He conquered death and if He lives, so shall we! “For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus!” 2 Corinthians 4.14
  5. Death will one day die. A day is coming, for all who belong to the Lamb, that the brokenness will be no more. The curse will be removed, night will be gone forever, and we will worship without the burden of sin. We “will see His face!” Revelation 22:1-5

What glory we anticipate! What glory our fractured lives hold to extend to a dying world!

May God give us the grace to mourn with hope, to write obituaries that point to Jesus, to see His hand as we make arrangements for memorial services, to visit cemeteries with joy, to proclaim His goodness in our grief, to use our estates in life and death for His glory! May the living take it to heart.

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