‘This season, when the Church anticipates and prepares for the tolling out of the old and the ringing in of the new secular year, is surely a time for facing ultimate realities. The four words, death, judgement, hell, and heaven, stand for four great mysteries, about which we ought to arrive at a conclusion as well as we can. Death is a fact, and it is just as well to face facts.
What is death? When life is withdrawn from the material body, the material envelope in which it mysteriously swells, we say that that is death. But science teaches us very clearly that matter cannot be destroyed: it can only be redistributed. Even when anything is burnt, it is not destroyed but merely reduced to its ultimate elements. If matter cannot be destroyed, it would be unreasonable to think that spirit can be destroyed.
In our incarnate state in this life we have a material body which subserves the purpose of our self-expression here. We can trust God, Who has given to us a material body for this stage of our eternal life, to provide us with a spiritual body to subserve the purposes of our self-expression in that higher stage to which we believe that at death we pass.
Our holy religion, though it is pre-eminently a way of life, does face the fact of death. Its great central service is the remembrance and the showing forth of a death, and its chief symbol is the crucifix, which holds up to us death – death revealing love, and love revealing death as sacrifice and prayer. Our religion interprets for us the fact of life, and gives us the truest philosophy about the fact of death’.
Father Andrew SDC, 1869-1946
Fr Lee Kenyon