Death is the Gate to Life

I was told by one of the locals who saw me looking at this church gate that it is only used for funerals and that the locals use a separate entrance for regular services. The inscription over the gate reads “Death is the Gate to Life”. Inside the gateway is another inscription which reads “When after a few years are come then shall I go the way whence I shall not return, Job XVI CH 22 V” In this context the words speak of life after (physical) death, eternal life as spoken of in the scriptures.

St Denys Church. Cold Ashby

I have passed by this gate several times while cycling around the Leicestershire / Northamptonshire area (You can just see my bike in the bottom right hand if the photo to the left), I always stop and ponder the words but I have never thought of them as having to do with physical death. I have always considered the words in another way.

If we really want to live then paradoxically we must first die. What do I mean by that? Jesus had a phrase for this, he called it being “Born Again”. I know that that those words have some negative connotations for some people, but we cannot get away from the fact that being “Born Again” is a central facet of the Christian Experience. It’s not all about going to heaven when you die though, it’s about starting to live a real authentic life here and now. In fact if your focus on being born again is just about going to heaven when you die then you have missed so much of what Jesus came to show us about living life here and now.

When we are “Born Again” we become the person that God intended us to be, the Apostle Paul described it as becoming a New Creation, others call it becoming Authentic or real. We are not just changed but the person we were has to die and then we have a new life in the identity that God always wanted us have from the beginning and that is an identity framed by Love. Jesus showed us what Love looks like when he spoke what we know as the Sermon on the Mount. He said, Love your enemy, bless those who persecute you, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and so on. That is when we truly begin to live, when we express God’s Love to those around us and see Christ in others. Life is only really lived when we live in an attitude of love, this can mean the acceptance of people who do not conform to our personal views of what is acceptable morally, sexually or socially; it might mean being willing to give up time and money to help someone who we would ordinarily think doesn’t deserve our attention; it can mean forgiving someone for a hurt or wrong that they have done to us. In seeing Christ in “the others” and accepting them and serving them in Love as we would Christ we then truly start to live. Life after death here and now.

Strangely, we do not hear much these days about dying to self in order to live, I wonder why?

A Faithful God

I admit that I often struggle with the Christian Faith

I struggle to read the word of God regularly

I struggle to pray regularly

I struggle to Love others as the Bible teaches me to

I struggle to live by faith

I struggle with the temptations of this world

I have wanted at times to give and go my own way

BUT

There is nowhere else to go

There is no-one else reliable and trustworthy enough to put my Trust in

There is no other Truth but in God, through Christ alone

Even when I feel that God is against me, there is no-one else to go to, but to Him (Psalm 60)

Even when I fail and am not faithful to Him, He shows how great He is by His Faithfulness to me (Romans 3v1-8)

Culture Change

We were reminded in this morning’s service (24/02/2013) that we as Christians are made for something different to the norm of this world. If we pin all our hopes of health and happiness on the society we live in and it’s media based, celebrity culture then we will be left feeling empty, disappointed and wanting. For me the message put into words some of the things that I have been feeling and that have been at the back of my mind but which i have been unable to express or put words to. As we look at our society today, we see despair, we see people pinning their hopes on things which will decay, happiness is in the next smart phone, the next gadget, but the happiness is fleeting and gone as soon as the next best thing comes along. As Christians, as Children of God we are called to live above and beyond the material, beyond that which will perish, not putting our hopes in any man or in things invented by man , we are called to live our lives through the Power that comes from God and which he imparts to us by His Holy Spirit. Our natural instinct is to live in the physical, in what we can see and feel and touch, but God calls us to be changed, we are called in Romans 12v2 to be changed by the renewing of our minds, that we might show His love, His compassion, His way which is a different way, a way of hope and love to those around us.

The full message is on our Church website ==> here

Thanks Becky for a great message and timely reminder 🙂