14th March 2020

Diminished by Death

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus…Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NKJV)

Poet John Donne wrote: “Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

Recently I have been bereaved of two people I knew well. Not family, not close friends, but people I had interacted with, laughed with, who, when last I saw them, I had no idea that that would be the final time. Each has left a hole in my life that will forever be named after them and remembered. Death is that dark curtain, that closed door, that unknown, to which we are all headed. The Bible calls death the last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26).

Christians, who are promised an eternal life to come, still experience death and bereavement. And even Christians sorrow concerning death, though we have confidence that we will meet again. But still it is that separation for which we have no solution, something we can do nothing about.

There are many stories of people willing to sacrifice themselves for others. The Bible understands that, and tells us that Jesus so loved us as individuals that he was prepared to die, when he didn’t have to, so that we might live, and live forever. And through that same example our God has solved the problem of death. Our Lord was resurrected. Our separation is only for a little time. We will be reunited with those we have lost, loved ones, family members, friends, even acquaintances, for all eternity, and the pain of separation which we feel so keenly today will fade and be lost in happier memories in the future.

What a magnificent God you are! You have demonstrated your love for us as individuals. We are not some collective; we are known by name as individuals. Thank you that our future is individually assured through our Saviour Jesus Christ in whose name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford

About the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School, Room A1 (Main Building)
Honey End Lane
RG30 4EL

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone: 01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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