Nature teaches us that while life and death may seem opposite and paradoxal, they work together as partners for the grand purpose of existence. Everything that exists does so because of something else that died in order to give it birth. For something to come to life something else must die. The Bible says it best when it quotes a very Jewish/talmudic understanding of resurrection saying,that, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (Joh 12:24)
I just spent the last two weeks in Paris, France caring for my dying father. When I arrived along with some of my siblings my father was still semi lucid , but his situation rapidly deteriorated. We knew that the end was imminent and it did come four days later on a late Saturday afternoon. We spent the few days that followed organising the funeral with the rest of the family before everybody had to go back where they came from, including me returning to Estacada, OR.
The passing of my father provided an occasion for the reunion of many people who hadn’t seen each other for a long time. My siblings and I, who hadn’t really communicated for decades spent many a long hour talking together, reminiscing, sharing notes and feelings about things. It was actually something beautiful and precious that wouldn’t have happened without my father, as the “grain of wheat,” fell into the earth and died.
It seems that through my father’s passing was born a whole new dimension of life that didn’t exist before, or if it did, it needed the fertilisation that only the death of a “grain of wheat” can bring. In a sense, what dies lives again in the things to which it gives life. A beautiful example of resurrection.
There are some other things that are common to life and death. They both come at God’s pleasure, they are messy, and the process, though bearing life, can be painful.
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