Thursday in the Fifth Week of Lent
Today is one of those days when I sympathize with the crowds who are arguing with Jesus. In today’s gospel, He has said that “whoever keeps my word will never see death.” The crowd points out that there are plenty of people, Abraham chief among them, who clearly kept God’s word and just as clearly died. Monty Python might cry out that “this is an ex-prophet!” In our own lives, we may know many individuals who have kept Jesus’ words and died. So what does this all mean?
We have seen at several points this week that what God means by a word and what we mean are not quite the same. Newness, glory, justice–all of these have had their meanings transformed by the gospel readings this week. Now, it is death’s turn. Death marks a great transition–Hamlet calls it “the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.” We cannot see beyond it, and we cannot return from it. But we are not ended by it. God did not make us to die and end, but to live with Him forever. God will keep us safe, even as we go through death. Our God will gladly follow us into the grave to protect us.