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Sunday, April 17, 2011


You would have heard (or possibly experienced) the list of common phobias. Hardly anyone is thrilled about being stuck in an elevator, being in close proximity to a spider or standing on the edge of a cliff. But most of those are generally avoidable.
But it's the thing other than taxes that we can't avoid that has driven people to do all sorts of strange things to avoid it.
It's "Thanatophobia" - the fear of death.

Be totally honest with yourself - would you be lying if you said you had NO fear of death whatsoever?
 Death is a bit of a complex word. About.com explains that there would be many various reasons for fear of death. Fear of losing a loved one, fear of the unknown, religious reasons (eg I might not be religious enough to go to heaven), fear of pain and suffering, fear of a loss of dignity or control.
Is part of the reason we (both individually and in community) are so interested in the existence of ghosts and paranormal because we need to know what happens to us once we pass away?
There's got to be something else right? Surely our existence on this earth isn't just OVER when we die?
Do we descend into Hades? Do we ascend to 'Heaven'. Do you disappear into nothing? Do we become part of the force like Yoda, Obi Wan and Anakin when they carked it?
What are we scared of facing?
What creatures lurk there? Will it be like in the movie "Ghost" starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, where good people met a ray of light and orbs of angelic love and bad people encounter poorly illustrated CGI hooded demons who grumble and groan as they drag you into the underworld. Will it be like Pastor Baz's friends dying mother, who when he visited her in hospital said "When I get out of here I'm going to Church, because I've seen those other things waiting for me in my room and I'm not going with them".
In Peter Bolts book "Living with the underworld" he talks about the "spiritual underworld and shows how Jesus came to reveal its true nature, neutralise its power, and liberate us to live without fear."
In the book he shows us the verses in the bible that reference the underworld and why we should not fear death.  Why and how Jesus has defeated death and the evil that lurks there. He points out the verse in Hebrews 2:14-15 "14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death."
As a Christian, I have a firm belief in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ and it's neutralising affect on fear, death and the power of the underworld that has gripped humans for millennia. This week remembers, reflects and in some cases re-enacts a huge event that tore a hole in and then embroided a new patch on the fabric of the universe and has affected it ever since.
As you know, Its nearing easter and although we are all about to hand out baskets of chocolate eggs and eat hot cross buns, the easter story has a huge impact in the universe that we miss in all our outrageous eating, drinking and being merry. That message is that Jesus was destined to die on a cross so that He could die for the sins of the world.  So that people would no longer have to sacrifice animals, or do other similar rituals for forgiveness of sins.  So, that we would no longer fear death, the devil and the things that lurk in the underworld would no longer have power.  Jesus was crucified and 3 days later he rose from the dead and was seen by His followers.  Whether you believe this or not there are historic records stating people did see this guy called Jesus after he'd been dead and buried. They touched him. Their hands did not pass through him as though he were a ghost. His flesh was not rotting away like a zombie Jesus. He was there. ALIVE and He had sacrificed His life for ours.  He had conquered DEATH and darkness. 
So yes, I'll admit I am scared of the process of dying, but I am not scared of what comes after because of God's amazing love and sacrifice for us ALL.  That is why its called "the good news" because that's what it is! Awesome huh?
Have a blessed Easter everyone.
Bryony and Baz

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