Change of Address…Where Do We Go From Here?

Successive deaths of international figures in the past week remind us of  the brevity and uncertainty of life.

Thursday last week, January 17, chess genius, icon and iconoclast Bobby Fischer died from an unspecified illness in a hospital in Reykjavic, Iceland. He was 64.

Tuesday this week, international marathon runner Wesly Ngetich of Kenya was killed by an arrow. News reports say it was accidental—Ngetich was caught in a deadly crossfire between two ethnic groups. He was 34. (Another Olympic runner from Kenya, Lucas Sang, was earlier hacked to death because of election violence in that country. Mr. Sang was killed on New Year’s Eve.)

Also on Tuesday, actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment, cause of death still officially undetermined. He was 28.

Where do they go from here?

When our time comes, where do we go from here?

One man who’s certain about where he’s going, when his time comes, is Billy Graham. In one interview, he said:
Billy Graham
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One of these days you’re going to hear the news
that I have died. Don’t you believe it. I will only
have had a change of address.

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He’s sure where he’s going. What about us: where do we go from here?

What do you think? Where do you think you’re going?

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Dead at 28

I was very surprised and saddened this morning to read that Heath Ledger was found dead in an apartment in New York. An autopsy has yet to be conducted. He was 28.

A very promising life cut so short. Oscar nominee for Brokeback Mountain. Good choice of roles in other movies—Monster’s Ball, I’m Not There, Lords of Dogtown, A Knight’s Tale. We will be seeing him later this year as the Joker in The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins.

A sober reminder of just how fleeting our life is. As the Bible describes life this side of eternity, it is like a vapor in the wind, like grass that sprouts in the morning and withers at night (beautifully put into music in Casting Crown’s Who Am I?).

A very strong, though sad, reinforcement of the need to appeal to God to “teach us to number our days”—to grant us wisdom on how to live our fleeting lives. Also reinforces the urgency of Paul’s appeal to be reconciled to God:

       Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is
gone, the new has come. All this is done by God, who
through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends
and gave us the task of making others his friends also.
Our message is that God was making all human beings his
friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of
their sins, and he has given us the message which tells
how he makes them his friends.

Here we are, then, speaking for Christ,
as though God himself were making his appeal
through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf:
let God change you from enemies into his friends!
Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made
him share our sin in order that in union with him
we might share the righteousness of God.[1]

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In the words of The Message:

       How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him
who never did  anything wrong,
so we could be put right with God.[2]

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Life is short and unpredictable. Be reconciled to God, while there is still time.

May God grant us all wisdom from above! God bless you!
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[1] 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Today’s English Version
[2] 2 Corinthians 5:21, The Message
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