Is Death Eternal? Kenneth Tanner

One of my all-time favorite after-church conversations:

A seven-year-old visitor to Holy Redeemer, a young black man: “When I die I am dead. I stay dead. It will be dark forever and I’ll be bored and alone.”

Me: “Everyone dies. We agree on that.”

<I pause, waiting for his eyes to meet mine again.>

“But we don’t believe death lasts forever. Death is not eternal. We believe that death will someday die forever.”

“But not you. Death will end but you will go on. You will never end. Death has an expiration date, but not you.”

“And in the place where you never end, where death is no more, there will only be light and no darkness. You will not be alone but surrounded by love and by other humans. We will never again be bored but always on new adventures. What do you think about what I’ve said?”

Seven-year-old visitor: <ponders for a good fifteen seconds> <smiles> “I believe THAT.”

Jesus asks all of us this question: Do you believe this?

Do we believe that Love is stronger than death?

Is death eternal? Does death have the last word?

When God became human humanity became permanent. Death is not permanent because death is a negation, a darkness, an evil with no origin in God.

Death came into the world through Adam. But the death of one human who also happens to be God means death has disappeared from humanity like straw in a bonfire.

Perhaps the eternal light of heaven is the fire in the flesh of Jesus Christ that devours death from us all forever.

Anyway…thanks to his Sunday School teacher who brought me to this young man, as he drank hot chocolate in the undercroft. Just simply it’s what it’s all about. Resurrection!

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