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Obsessed with Death

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A visitor to church might have wondered what was going on yesterday. All Saints Sunday is somewhat of an unusual one, as we remember with joy the deaths of those saints who have gone before us. In churches around the world, we took time to list the names of church members who have died within the past year. We even sing in gory detail about the deaths of the saints of old:

They have come from tribulation And have washed their robes in blood,
Washed them in the blood of Jesus; Tried they were, and firm they stood.
Mocked, imprisoned, stoned, tormented, Sawn asunder, slain with sword…
(TLH 471, v 3)

A glorious band, the chosen few, On whom the Spirit came,
Twelve valiant saints—their hope they knew And mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant’s brandished steel, The lion’s gory mane;
They bowed their necks their death to feel—Who follows in their train?
(LSB 661, v 3)

Nice thing to be singing about with the kids, isn’t it? Being stoned, sawn in half, eaten by lions, burned to death, beheaded… Yep. Nothing to see here, folks. Just an ordinary church service, singing about various ways to die. What is it about Christians, that we’re so obsessed with death?

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Life from Death

We have an amazing bush in our front yard.  I think it may be a holly bush of some type, based on the leaves, but my knowledge of plants is slim at best.  At any rate, this bush died over the winter, and once spring came the entire thing was an ugly brown.  I didn’t know if I was supposed to prune the branches and wait for new growth, or if the thing just couldn’t take the brutal winter and was really dead.  Once everything else in our yard was starting to bloom again in spring, I finally ventured over to it for a closer look.  What I saw shocked me.  Green leaves were starting to form, but not as you might expect.  As the picture shows, green was actually forming inside the brown leaves.  Those brown leaves I had supposed were dead were turning green from the inside out.  I’d never seen anything like it.  And yet I have, and so have you.

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