Death and hope


Donald Bradman, probably the greatest Australian cricketer, once said "Although death is inevitable, it is not something I approach with any great enthusiasm." How true. Death is not something we look forward to. We work hard to put it off, and when it touches someone close to us, we do all that we can to deny it.

The healthy life-style industry certainly works to provide longevity. We can even buy spring water, supposedly healthier than the tap variety, but probably affected by plastic leaching. We are working to extend life to a good thirty years after retirement. The only trouble is, we haven't quite worked out how to fund a 30 year retirement on the public purse when we only have a working life of around 40 years. Our social security tax component or superannuation component would need to be over $100 a week.

In the funeral industry there is a constant move to reduce the reality of the event. The use of curtains and music at the Crematorium, serves to reduce the starkness of a funeral. Probably more than at any other time in our life, facing reality is what is needed. This is why many counsellors suggest that those close to the deceased should go and view the body.

The inevitability of death certainly concerns government. There is a great temptation to tax it. Governments are always looking for that extra source of income to cover their over-generous election promises. Then there is the provision of sites for the deceased. In typical bureaucratic style, government is constantly floating the idea of the re-use of grave sites. "We are running out of land", so the argument goes. Of course, many of our oldest parks were former graveyards. What a wonderful use of an old cemetery, and won't that be the best use of the cemeteries of today when they are full? Seeing people pay for their site, the money can go to buy back old factory sites or depressed housing estates for a cemetery and then become a park a century later. Bureaucracy is not renowned for lateral thinking.

Miss Firecracker was asked, "How much can we expect out of life?"

"Not much" was her answer.

"So that's it then?"

"There's always eternal grace", she replied.

The gift of God's eternal grace, all for the asking - eternity. "Death is swallowed up in victory..... Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Ah yes, hope!