Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
We are in the midst of death. The death procession is all around us. We have come through one of the most destructive fire seasons in history; the Black Forest near the Springs has been ravaged by fire, and the land bears the scar that has the look of death. And this, merely a year after the fire across the interstate in Waldo Canyon (not to mention the many other fires that have burned around the state). Wednesday evening into Thursday the area was subjected to much rainfall and places experienced flooding, including the burn scarred areas down south. Life was washed away in those floods, especially for the person whose house collapsed on them, and others who succumbed to the flood waters. Four dead so far; 150 whose whereabouts are still unknown.
This past Wednesday we remembered a very deadly day in the history of our nation. It was just a year ago when terrorists stormed the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing the ambassador and three others, while 12 years previous to that many men and women were killed and gave their lives as terrorists flew planes into the towers of the World Trade Center, toppling them, into the Pentagon, and into a field in Pennsylvania. Of course, many more lives were taken in the warring that has occurred since then, as a result of these acts.
Certainly, we cannot begin to count the death toll of the countless tragedies that have happened since and long before these events. Auto accidents, train derailments, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, murders and massacres, wars, abortions—death surrounds us. “Come quickly, Lord Jesus,” we are wont to pray; “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet,” He replies. (Matthew 24:6b)
Our own bodies testify to being in the midst of death. From the moment we take our first breaths, we slowly make our way to our final day. Along the way, we fall ill, scrape our knees or shed our blood in various ways, and break bones. Such fragile creatures are we, marching ever onward toward death and decay. Some of us die “naturally,” while others give in to horrific and painful diseases.
We are in the midst of death, and we cannot escape it. “All have sinned,” (Romans 3:23) St. Paul wrote, and, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a) “[T]hus death spread to all men, because all sinned...” (Romans 5:12b)