02 April 2007

Facing up to the inevitable

My experience of the past three weeks has reminded me in a vivid way of my own mortality, which coincided with the celebration of 52 years of life last friday. Three mondays ago I was working out on the cross-trainer in Redeemer's weight room. Not 12 hours later my appendix burst in the waiting room at emergency at McMaster University Medical Centre. One moment I felt healthy; scarcely a moment later I was battling a potentially serious illness. It all happened so quickly.

After I left hospital, I learned through an internet search that the famed magician, Harry Houdini, died at age 52 (!) of a burst appendix and peritonitis. In another pre-antibiotic age, that could have been me. My life might easily be over by now.

During Holy Week we are liturgically thrust into the drama of Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection. This is the climax of the church year, when everything comes together in the events leading up to the paschal celebration. All of us face the eventuality of death. Two and a half years ago I decided to embark on an exercise regimen and successfully lost 20 pounds. This was in an effort to remain as healthy as possible for the sake of our young daughter. But such efforts can come to naught suddenly and unexpectedly, as I am freshly aware. In such circumstances all we can do is to hold on to the promise that, in Jesus' sacrifice for our sins, death does not have the final word.

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