ALIVE: Chapter 21 - Circle Back to Meaning - Sudden Death

Another important lesson that The Flood Story taught us was the same lesson that Jesus and ISIS have also taught us. Be ready for sudden death. The warnings have been sent out loud and clear, and repeatedly. Things change, and sometimes they change fast.

"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'No! There will not be enough for you and us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they went to buy oil, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Matthew 25:1-14

We don't know how many people lived on earth when the Flood came and devastated them all. We must assume that although evil and wickedness was rampant, as it is in this day, we would not have considered everything to be purely evil. Surely there was a measure of love for children or spouses. Surely there existed random acts of kindness for the weak, or the neighbor. God made humans in His image and likeness, and God is love. So even the most vulgar human contains within him or herself the seed of love. Surely not everyone in that world would have been condemned to death by me or you if we had been God in the days of the Flood. The wives all had relatives that they left behind. They must have grieved terribly over those deaths.

We must accept that God despises evil so much that, at the time of the Flood, He was willing to destroy everything and every one, down to the last puppy in order to be rid of evil, and to start anew.

When terrorists do their dirty deeds for whatever reasons, they do not carefully select who they determine deserves to be murdered. Their murderous instincts are dispersed suddenly, indiscriminately, and without trial. While the soul of the suicide bomber plummets into a place of eternal anguish, his victim may be experiencing a calm, peaceful, and blissful state unknown before that tragic moment. This scene is as invisible as cyberspace, but as real.

Accidental deaths come suddenly too. Anyone who has lost a loved one by accidental death knows how fast the world can spin.

Jesus warned us to 'Be Ready.' The terrorists have also warned us to 'Be Ready' by the randomness of their dastardly deeds. Secret agents and investigators, the military, and all those charged to protect us have and will continue to reduce our risk of sudden death, but no one can guarantee it will not happen. We can reduce the number of accidental deaths with safety measures, but we cannot prevent all such deaths.

A person who dies suddenly may not suffer at all, certainly not as much as those beloved (s)he left behind. The soul of a person which has been torn from its body may go to experience a foretaste of bliss, or of punishment depending on their first judgement. Ancient Christian theology teaches that on the way to its resting place, the soul will be accused by demons at a trial, and that angels and saints, and family and friends will testify on the soul's behalf before the determination is made as to where the person will go.

When Jesus returns at the end of this age, and He ushers in the new age of immortality from 'whence all sickness, sorrow and sighing have fled away' when He will judge the living and the dead (for the second and final time), believe it or not, the victorious will discover a life that is more pure and stable, free from any threat, than we can ever imagine.

You see; we live in a dangerous, constantly changing world. The only true security we have is what we provide for ourselves. Call it oil for our lamps, or call it a real relationship with our life giver whose voice we recognize and who knows us down to the count of every hair on our heads, but for children of God, if evil robs us of our bodies with its breath and beat, we will simply be given a new indestructible body someday that will last forever and ever. Evil will not win, except for those who surrender to it, either intentionally or by neglect.

One lesson of the Flood is found in the clear and tragic picture that it paints of those few who were in the Ark, contrasted by those many who were not. Although Noah was chosen among men to build the ark and to live through the catastrophe of the Flood, his family, especially the wives of his sons were simply lucky. Yet, the process changed them all.

Sudden death is not necessarily avoidable, so be prepared. And if you are lucky enough to live a long and healthy life, use it to prepare for the age to come.

Does the concept of sudden death make you feel uncomfortable? I know.

It's about separation. We don't want to leave our friends or family, our homes and towns, our countries and everything familiar. The great unknown is frightening. And yet, death, sudden or not, is inevitable. All the more reason to make God, Jesus, the angels and saints, an integral part of our social network because they will be the ones who will greet us on the day we pass from this earth. Follow Christ.

The Church is the Ark of our world, with its doors wide open to receive and protect us, rather than shut tight to keep us out, that is until the day the Bridegroom comes (again), and the wedding feast begins, when the doors of the Ark-Church too will be shut tight, and we can no longer enter. Sudden death. Forever.