Thoughts about death, and Easter

Letter No. 340 | April 11, 2009

Hello Everyone,

It’s a sunny, cool, quiet afternoon here in Indiana. The metrical trot of the horses’ hooves has ended, and the squeak from the caisson wheels has ceased. We’re gathered on the hillside of the Oakland Cemetery to pay a final tribute to fallen Pittsburgh police officer, hometown hero, and friend, Stephen Mayhle.

As I gaze across this sacred and silent field, I am reminded of the many funerals and memorial services of the past. Large or small, each event gave us a unique perspective on the values and philosophies of so many. I have seen death met with hopeless distress while others have shouldered their loss with a resolve of steel. I’ve witnessed the extremes of emotional response from those who suffered bitter anguish and sadness to those who jubilantly celebrated. What is it that makes death so different for so many?

In the midst of such a solemn ceremony, I cannot help but draw a smile in knowing there is a difference here. While we mourn the loss of a husband, father, son, and friend, there is certainly a resolve of steel in this place. Perhaps it’s the fact that we know where we are from, and we know where we are going. Officer Mayhle was just like us. He was proud of his western Pennsylvania heritage, and proud to serve and protect his beloved city of Pittsburgh. But there is more to this resolve than the “steel city,” there’s a resolve in knowing there’s tomorrow…

Tomorrow is Easter and Easter is the Resurrection and this resolve of steel is nothing more than grace experienced by embracing the One who carried all of our grief and sorrows. He makes the uncertain certain, and removes the “un” from the unknown. He doesn’t promise us wealth, riches, or fame of sorts, but paradoxically provides us “life abundant.” He doesn’t make us exempt from the hand of death, but removes the chill from our crossing. He claims His rightful place as “the Resurrection and the Life” and vows eternal life to those who believe.

While tomorrow holds so much significance for us, it does not matter what day it is or what terrible or insensible act may occur. We can anticipate a brighter tomorrow. For there is another Resurrection in the offing and one I don’t intend to miss. Now that gives me reason for resolution of steel.

Easter Blessings,
Scott & Karen


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