Devotional Thought of the Day:
54 So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!” 55 “Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your power to hurt?“ 56 Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. 57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (TEV)
383 The scholastics do not teach the righteousness of faith. They interpret faith as merely a knowledge of history or of dogmas, not as the power that grasps the promise of grace and righteousness, quickening the heart amid the terrors of sin and death.
(disclaimer, I haven’t watched GoT yet…. but please keep reading)
Last night my Twitter and FB feeds went crazy, I mean really crazy. Like 1000 posts in five minutes crazy.
Everyone was talking about someone dying, reacting the way I remember us reacting when the Challenger exploded, or perhaps when the way people did when Kennedy was shot.
Turns out it was a character on a television show called Game of Thrones. ( I vaguely remember a similar incident when someone shot JR, but then again, I didn’t watch that show either!)
One of my much younger friends tried to explain it to me. She was kind of shocked that I hadn’t watched GoT yet and tried to convince me I MUST watch it. We “chatted” across FB for a while, and I went to sleep thinking I might be able to watch and episode or two… maybe in August?
But I thought about it, apparently this show, like a few others this last year, have made a point about people dying who are someone special to the show. Someone died in Gray’s Anatomy (McDreamy McSteamy, McBlasphemy?) , And I think there is some other show where they regularly kill off a character. I suppose if BlackList (the only show I regularly watch, and I am a season behind)
All this shock of death, even the death of a fictional character is, in my mind a good thing. We can learn from it, that death is fleeting, and that life needs to be taken in a proper perspective. That the relationships, we count on can be horribly marred by death, Whether that death is a friend in their 90’s or infant still in the womb. Whether it is the death of a dear friend whom we will miss for years or of someone across the world.
It can cause fear as well, I can testify to that. Because of a genetic heart condition, I’ve faced it for a long time though since 1998 the threat has lessened because of surgery. Even so, death has an incredible power over us who live. It threatens us, it hurts us, it damages our psyche as we try to cope with our lives being shorter and more tragic than we want to admit, that we want to face.
Yeah – a character can be killed off. Even more importantly, a friend can die, or you can. An accident, a cardiac arrest, food poisoning, cancer, war, civil unrest. No one is immune. No one. (as GoT so aptly proves!)
In the quote above in blue, a man named Phillip Melancthon talked about belief, about faith, in a way that can give us some comfort. Faith is what gives us peace in the midst of death and dying, It isn’t just knowing some facts and figures, it isn’t just about thinking about God, or trying to behave well. It is clinging to God in a way that brings hope, even in the midst of tears, and anger, and trying to make sense out of this life, and the terminal nature of it.
Faith clings to the God, who promises that death is not as brutal, that there is something more to life than ending in death.
It clings to the promises God has made, that He has revealed, that He sends the Holy Spirit to confirm to us and to comfort us and to be our guarantee of eternity. When we have faith, we count on God more and more, and He sustains us, comforts us, holds us close. And nothing, not even death, can separate us from His love.
So if GoT caused you to grieve, to be angry, to hold onto speculation that the character really isn’t dead, to go even into a small depression, maybe that’s a good thing. Take the time to think through your reaction, to realize the power of death, and the only way to break its very real hold on you, is to hold on to Jesus.
He’s promised to protect your heart and your mind… and surround you with the incomprehensible peace of God our Father.
You’ll be okay. He died to make sure of it!
Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 165). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.