"Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it!At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now." Dwight L. Moody, 19th Century Evangelist
I've come to believe--for the Christian--that there is more life at death than at any other time! This week I am witnessing it first-hand. Our church family is riding the emotional waves created by the passing of David Nicholas. David founded Spanish River Church and served as our Senior Pastor for forty-two years. Joyful memories send waves of laughter crashing around us only to be followed by a surge of tears as the finality of life--this side of eternity--grips our hearts. Yet as I stand, drenched in the feelings of these alternating breakers, there is life, so much life!
There is the life of community. In the Psalms David wrote, Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!1 We are experiencing that refreshing fragrance of unity. I am so proud of our church! Earlier today I got teary as I reflected on the wonderful outpouring of love for David and for Nori, who is left to navigate life without her husband of 47 years.
There is the renewed sense of life in the ordinary. I am intrigued by the words of Ecclesiastes: It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.2Parties are fun, but the shadow of death enriches the hues of life. We remember what matters: Friendships, hugs, and "I love yous." Husbands and wives grab hands; parents remember those three special words; friends hug with great intensity. We get a fresh sense that life is beautiful and moments are precious.
There is the life of glory. Paul wrote, For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.3 As we will sing at David's memorial service, "I will rise when he calls my name. No more sorrow, no more pain. I will rise on eagles' wings. Before my God fall on my knees. And rise, I will rise."4Yes, death will be swallowed up by life.
These days you may be reading that David Nicholas is dead. Don't you believe a word of it. He is more alive than ever. And for those of us who remain, the life surrounding David's death is a harbinger of Paul's final victory cry:
"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.5
1 Psalm 133:1 ESV
2 Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 ESV
3 2 Corinthians 5:1 ESV
4 Chris Tomlin, I Will Rise
5 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 ESV