Sunday, July 18, 2021

The infernal coin

Sermon for the seventh Sunday after Trinity

"When you're dead, you're dead!"

How many times have you heard that? How does it make you feel?

At first sight, doesn't really mean anything, but then you understand that the person saying this means that he does not believe in life after death.

We all know that we are highly likely to die. Enochs and Elijahs don't come along every day. We know that death is something that we will have to face. If there is nothing of us after death, then this life is all there is and we have to make the most of it. So why not devote your life just to enjoying yourself. The pain of living is only temporary, so just do what you want. When you're dead, you can't feel pain or humiliation or anger. 

When you're dead the lives of the people you leave behind can't matter. Love ends at death, and so do all the affections that you have for other people and those that others have for you. There's no need to love, there's no need to get caught up in families. There is only the need to enjoy yourself. Do what makes you happy.


Dear God, that is such a bleak philosophy! While the fear of death does not prove the existence of the afterlife, our experience that life has some meaning seems unshakable. Yet, if there is only death then there is no meaning.

We know that every human being has a meaning, even those who live for just a day, even those whose lives are blighted by pain and suffering and poverty and sickness and slavery. And that means that we believe not only that there is life after death but there is also justice after death.

We believe in God and we trust in His promise of Life Eternal with Him.


The fact that we die leaves us open to the temptation to sin. Sin and death are the two sides of the same coin. We sin because we think it won't matter in the long run. We die because our sin cuts us off from God Who is Life. 

To remove sin from our lives, to come to God soiled by our wrongdoing and be washed by His Grace, these destroy Death's sting because we enter life through the Cross of Christ. In Him, the sufferings of us all are not only put right but sanctified to the extent that our scars become more beautiful than gold, diamonds or precious stones.

The wages of sin is death, so all the poverty that comes from renouncing sin brings us to greater riches.


We are Christians and we believe God that our lives mean more than we know. If sin and death are two sides of the same coin, then perhaps that coin needs to be flipped into the pit whence it came.

No comments: