Pentecost 2, Thursday, Year C

Inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:11-17

“For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.  And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.”  2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NRSV)

Death is a great motivator.  People who receive a diagnosis of terminal illness often become highly focused on what is really important to them, and make dramatic changes to their lives that reflect their new values.  Well-meaning Christians wanting to win more souls for Christ often use the threat of death and eternal damnation to encourage people to make the right choices now.

But death has no real power, especially over Christians.  Christ has already died—not only for existing Christians, but for all—and has conquered death by his resurrection.  Our sinful selves have died with him, and we have been reborn to new lives in him.  What does that mean?  It means we don’t have to be afraid of dying.  Death is neither a punishment for our behavior nor the end of our existence; it is simply a change in how we live.

Given that, we are called to live on this earth as though we’ve already died, and therefore have nothing to fear.  We can enjoy life, experience its beauty, participate in its love.  We don’t have to seek approval, human or divine, because human approval doesn’t matter, and divine approval has already been given us, for the sake of Christ.  We have what we have because Christ loves us, and we are called to act not by a fear of death, but by the love of Christ.

Let us pray.  Loving God, you took our death upon yourself and gave us eternal life instead.  Free us from fear, that we may share your love throughout the world.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.