“Strength” : Systematic Theology from Death Row : (Casey McWhorter & Jeff Hood)
We lose our ability to cope with the world around us when we choose to believe that death has power over us. Strength comes from daring to believe that any end is not an end…but rather a beginning. Death has no power if we dare believe that it doesn’t exist. People can say all day that they are going to kill us…but if one cannot be killed then they are really not saying much of anything. Strength comes from defiance in the face of death. They say we’re all going to die…but with strength of mind and spirit maybe we don’t have to.
The message of Jesus is most powerful when juxtaposed against the almost universal fear of death. Instead of begging not to die, Jesus lays down his life. Believing that death is not the final answer, Jesus destroys himself…or at the very least allows others to do it for him. What would it be like if we took the time to see our future in the same way that Jesus saw his future? No one could take his life from him. Jesus simply laid it down. Jesus embraced death as a means to share love…and knew that such sharing would ensure that life would last forever for all. No one can take our lives. For life cannot be destroyed. Strength comes from believing that death is dead. We do not have to weep like those who have no hope. We just have to believe…for God believes in us.
If one can be liberated from death, then one becomes immortal. Such immortality doesn’t have to begin after death. It can begin right now. Immortality can be the name of the strength that kills death. Liberation has a name…the humanization of strength…the very incarnation of strength…the strength to laugh in the face of death. Strength to truly live.
Why does everyone hold on so tightly? If I die, I am God’s. If I live, I am God’s. No matter what happens, I belong to God…I exist in God and God exists in me. Strength is knowledge of the promise of tomorrow and eternity after that. No one can kill us…because we have killed death. Strength flows out of the death of death.
Whoever loves their life will lose it…but whoever gives their life for others will gain the world. May we all give our eternity…our immorality in the service of others…until we are called to rest. Strength immortal…immortal strength…flows from such a space. Signs and wonders. Life truly lived. Magical manifestations. They are all ours if we can muster the strength to overcome death. May we all be evangelists of life that never ends…truth can never die…love. Take strength my friend, there is no such thing as death.