Death, Then What?

Susan at Jenny Lake, Grand Tetons – Sept, 2012


Most people believe in an afterlife.  In human history only a very small minority have believed that this life is all there is, the whole shebang.  

For the rest of us, ideas about this future state vary widely.   It might surprise you to know that only a minority of Christians today have ideas about the afterlife that most early Christians would recognize.  

As you might imagine, in the last several years, Susan and I have given more than a little thought to questions about the afterlife.  Cancer focuses the mind that way.  It drove me to dig deep into the traditions that we hold dear.  That give meaning to our lives.  The Faith that sustains us.  What wisdom about death and life after death would we find there?

I intend to write a series of posts about what I found.  My hope is to encourage you to think deeply about these questions.  For death comes to us all.


Of course peering into the future is of necessity looking through a dark glass, to use an old biblical image.  But this doesn’t mean we can say nothing about the matter.  We’ve been given signposts, maps even, to guide our way.  Signposts don’t tell us everything but they tell us something.  Maps are very useful in pointing the way and giving the general lay of the land.  But the map maker can’t document every detail.  Those details await our arrival.  My tradition teaches me that once upon a time the Master Map Maker sent us His right hand guy, the guy who had overseen the entire map making process. That guy was sent to show us how and where to walk. “Follow me,” He said.  “Live like me.”  But here’s the hard part, “die like me.”  That was very confusing and unpopular at the time.  Still is. Expectations were shattered.  “You are suppose to show us how to live, how to overcome life’s obstacles along the way, obstacles like these nasty Romans, not die!”  Everyone doubted.  “This can’t be the way. Following a crucified Jew!”  But then came the really surprising part, “live again like me.”  That’s when everything changed.  The worlds largest and most influential map reading family, warts and all, was and is the result.