Death Swallowed Up (You’re Not Disposable!) – Greg Albrecht
One of the great lessons and
legacies of the empty tomb
and the resurrection of Jesus
is that our temporary world does not
have the last word. Easter tells you
and me that we are not disposable.
Easter tells us that even while our
bodies age and shrink and wither
away—there will be a day when our
bodies, like the body of Jesus, will be
resurrected. God will never throw us
During the second half of the 20th century our consumer culture turned
into a throw-away-culture the likes of which the world has never seen.
Plastic bottles are one of the premier examples—use the bottle once and
then throw it away. Paper plates, disposable diapers and styrofoam cups are all a part of our throw-away culture.
Several years ago my wife and I walked through a new store in our local mall called “Forever 21.” As we walked through the aisles and displays of clothing I checked price tags and was amazed at the rather inexpensive prices being asked for many of the articles of clothing.
But then I looked a little more closely—and I felt the fabrics. They all seemed cheap, as if they wouldn’t last. After we went home I did a little
research and found that this is but one of many new retail outlets that
offer what is called disposable fashion.
Garments considered to be disposable fashion are priced so inexpensively because they are designed to be thrown away after only a few wearings! The underlying value—it’s not made to last, so wear it a few times and when you are tired of it then throw it away.
And let me be fair—it’s not just Forever 21 selling disposable fashion—items that are intentionally manufactured to have short life-spans are offered by many retailers. Our disposable culture increasingly desires convenience and immediacy over longer lasting value.
Disposable products and waste fill our landfills so that we in North America often have to ship the trash and debris we no longer desire to other countries—we have no room for all that we consider disposable.
Our disposable culture enthrones the immediate and the short-lived product or experience, and rejects the long-term. And this value of disposability is not just about products and services, it’s about people—about marriages, friends and family.
An entire generation has been raised to accept and pursue immediate gratification of short term relationships—popularly called “hook ups”—in favor of a long-term relationship. A disposable relationship is here-and-now, it is easy and temporary—it requires little commitment or effort, merely gratification— whereas a long-term commitment embodies work, trust, faith, fidelity and self-sacrifice.
Our culture seems obsessed with immediate benefit—ignoring and giving little thought to the future so that every ounce of pleasure can be squeezed out of the here-and-now.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ stands on the other side of the short-lived values and death of our consumer-driven throw away culture. As they invariably are, the values of the Kingdom of God are the polar opposite of the kingdoms of our world.
Easter tells you and me that God will never dispose of us. Easter does not deny either the inevitability of our physical death or the necessity of willingly yielding our “old man”—it tells us that following these two deaths we will be given a transformed, incorruptible body.
The good news of the resurrection of Jesus is that God is bigger than death—Jesus is alive and God has swallowed up death (Isaiah 25:6-9).
The Resurrection of our Lord brings us to our knees in humility and it staggers our minds with wonder and mystery about that which we cannot fully comprehend.
The Resurrection is not an academic exercise we undertake so that we might prove it, but rather it is an experience and belief that we live.
The Resurrection is not something we can analyze or solve—it is a gift of God’s grace we are called to live.
This is the day when we know that the power of God, his love, mercy and grace has determined that the graves will “give up their dead.”
This is the day that celebrates the life Christ lives within us by God’s grace—the life of our risen Lord— and that new life in Christ is eternal.
This is the day that renews our hope and faith, for hope and faith in Jesus can ever be extinguished.
This is the day that celebrates the reality that God has swallowed up death and Jesus is risen. His tomb is empty! He is risen! He is risen indeed.