Death is the Enemy
“Tell them: As l live” –the declaration of the Lord God- “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent! Repent from your evil ways! Why will you die, house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11)
For the Christian and non-Christian, death is the biggest enemy. Can you imagine anything more difficult than losing a loved one to an early death? On the reservation, it is an all too common occurrence. People, here, die well before the average life expectancy in our country. A weekly reading of the obituaries will almost always include people in their teens, 20s, and 30s.
A cousin of one of our congregation members was recently quoted in the newspaper, regarding the death of her brother: “[Death] affects us daily. We just don’t always directly know the persons involved. And it’s kind of a scary feeling that it could be somebody we know. But every day, we push forward for our kids.”
The brother who died was “wicked” in the same sense that we are all wicked. All of us have sinned, and the wages of that sin is death. But God clearly shows two things here: He does not desire the death of any sinner, and he wants sinners to repent. Lent is a season of repentance.
If we are gossiping and destroying other’s reputations, it’s time to repent. If we are holding on to secret sins, it’s time to repent. Anything and everything we can think of that offends God and our neighbor needs repentance. But this is not an empty exercise only done in preparation for Easter, this is a daily drowning of our old, sinful nature and a new life lived with God.
Life - that is what Jesus has come to give us, and that is what God desires to give every person on the Navajo Nation - young, old, or in between. May we all turn from our selfish ways of death to the life God has given us.
Adonai Yahweh, thank you for calling me to faith in Jesus who gives me life. Drown the old nature in me daily that a new person would rise to live with you, in innocence and blessedness. Amen.