Make No Peace With Death—Readers’ Choice

Selected by reader, Rhoda Reynolds
I really like the guided prayers and shared this with others. The thoughtfulness of this one touched my heart.

Originally published, April 22, 2020, based on readings from Ecclesiastes 9 & Titus 1.

Scripture Focus: Ecclesiastes 9.3-4
3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

Titus 1.1-3
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior

Reflection: Make No Peace With Death—Readers’ Choice
By John Tillman

With all his wisdom, Solomon, the teacher, recognized that God had set eternity in the human heart (Ecclesiastes 3.11) but in some writings seemed to barely hold a glimpse of what God had in mind for humanity in eternity.

Solomon’s conclusion about death is not that dissimilar at times from billionaire tech giants of today (our culture’s definition of “wise men”) who see death as an evil that should be eradicated.

In 2018, Jacob Banas wrote about the cultish obsession of tech giants with longevity and defeating death:

“Traditional religion in the Bay Area is being replaced with…a belief in the power of technology and science to save humanity,” …Combine this…with leaders who are too young to find peace in the concept of death and who haven’t experienced the kinds of traumas that might inoculate them against some of that fear? You get a perfect storm of longevity obsession.”

When we look closer at the supposedly altruistic goals of “life extension” or “defeating death” we barely scrape the surface before uncovering the primary motivator—greed and the continued accumulation of wealth. 

The billionaire class is on a very real quest to create a new breed of altered humans who will live longer with greater ability to accumulate even more wealth and consolidate even more power. Sean Parker warned at a fundraiser for cancer research that wealth disparity will eventually create a “Class of Immortal Overlords.” He quipped, “Give us billionaires an extra hundred years and you’ll know what … wealth disparity looks like.”

The only correct thought about death that these tech giants have is that death is an enemy. The Christian does not make peace with death. Death is the final enemy to be defeated. 

The difference for believers is that we, unlike Solomon, are certain that death is defeated. (Titus 1.1-3) Death’s sting has no venom for the believer and his victory is as hollow as Jesus’ tomb. (1 Corinthians 15:54-56; Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 25:8) Death which Solomon called “evil” is to us but a door leading the presence of God. 

Death is not kind nor a friend. He is not to be smiled at or joked with. He intends to make us suffer. But like the thief on the cross, if we have the simplest and smallest faith in Christ, on the other side of death we will be embraced by our truest friend, Jesus.

Further Reading:
The Men Who Want to Live Forever — By Dara Horn
Sean Parker Says Wealth Disparity Will Create a ‘Class of Immortal Overlords’ — By Billy Perrigo
Seeking eternal life, Silicon Valley is solving for death — By W. Harry Fortuna

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there is where your heart will be too.” — Luke 12.33-34

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Jeremiah 40 (Listen – 3:50)
Psalms 15-16 (Listen – 2:03)

#ReadersChoice is time for you to share favorite Park Forum posts from the year.

What post helped you forgive?

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Read more about Too Much to Hold
Death’s jaws, snake-like, that swallow worlds
Cannot contain their maker
Christ is too sweet to see decay
The monster gets no supper

Make No Peace With Death

Scripture Focus: Ecclesiastes 9.3-4
3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

Titus 1.1-3
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior

Reflection: Make No Peace With Death
By John Tillman

With all his wisdom, Solomon, the teacher, recognized that God had set eternity in the human heart (Ecclesiastes 3.11) but in some writings seemed to barely hold a glimpse of what God had in mind for humanity in eternity.

Solomon’s conclusion about death is not that dissimilar at times from billionaire tech giants of today (our culture’s definition of “wise men”) who see death as an evil that should be eradicated.

In 2018, Jacob Banas wrote about the cultish obsession of tech giants with longevity and defeating death:

“Traditional religion in the Bay Area is being replaced with…a belief in the power of technology and science to save humanity,” …Combine this…with leaders who are too young to find peace in the concept of death and who haven’t experienced the kinds of traumas that might inoculate them against some of that fear? You get a perfect storm of longevity obsession.”

When we look closer at the supposedly altruistic goals of “life extension” or “defeating death” we barely scrape the surface before uncovering the primary motivator—greed and the continued accumulation of wealth. 

The billionaire class is on a very real quest to create a new breed of altered humans who will live longer with greater ability to accumulate even more wealth and consolidate even more power. Sean Parker warned at a fundraiser for cancer research that wealth disparity will eventually create a “Class of Immortal Overlords.” He quipped, “Give us billionaires an extra hundred years and you’ll know what … wealth disparity looks like.”

The only correct thought about death that these tech giants have is that death is an enemy. The Christian does not make peace with death. Death is the final enemy to be defeated. 

The difference for believers is that we, unlike Solomon, are certain that death is defeated. (Titus 1.1-3) Death’s sting has no venom for the believer and his victory is as hollow as Jesus’ tomb. (1 Corinthians 15:54-56; Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 25:8) Death which Solomon called “evil” is to us but a door leading the presence of God. 

Death is not kind nor a friend. He is not to be smiled at or joked with. He intends to make us suffer. But like the thief on the cross, if we have the simplest and smallest faith in Christ, on the other side of death we will be embraced by our truest friend, Jesus.

Further Reading:
The Men Who Want to Live Forever — By Dara Horn
Sean Parker Says Wealth Disparity Will Create a ‘Class of Immortal Overlords’ — By Billy Perrigo
Seeking eternal life, Silicon Valley is solving for death — By W. Harry Fortuna

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus said to the disciples: “In truth I tell you, when everything is made new again and the Son of man is seated on his throne of glory, you yourselves will sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or land for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much, and also inherit eternal life. Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” — Matthew 19.28-30

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Ecclesiastes 9 (Listen – 3:13) 
Titus 1 (Listen -2:24)

Read more about Immortality and Resurrection
The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die. — N.T. Wright

Read more about Too Much to Hold
In Christ, we’re made to be like him
Too much for Death to hold
Grasped by him for a moment
But he cannot hold our souls


Praying for Repentance :: A Guided Prayer

Scripture Focus: 2 Timothy 4.3-4
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Reflection: Praying for Repentance :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

Paul says that the “time will come,” when people will not put up with sound doctrine. He sounds like he is speaking of the future, but it certainly seems as if there were a lot of Paul’s past experiences in Acts that might be described as people not putting up with sound doctrine.

Being stoned, being beaten, being imprisoned, and being run out of town by mobs doesn’t exactly sound like acceptance or tolerance. Doctrinal diligence is needed in every age of the church. Defending correct doctrine is the task Paul is quite seriously commanding Timothy to prepare for. We need to prepare for it too.

But as we think of these people Paul writes of, who will gather teachers to suit their own desires, we need to think about our desires. As we pray for people who turn their ears away from the truth, we need to think about how often we turn away from facts that don’t fit our paradigms. Let us remember that people are not our enemies, only sin.

Let us pray for our culture and ourselves this weekend, a prayer of repentance. Our prayer today is based on yesterday’s readings from chapter 3, verses 2-5 and Paul’s description of sinful, self-interested people who are lovers of themselves. 

A Prayer for Repentance
Lord we remember your prophecy from yesterday’s reading about how sinful people would become. Empower us to confess and repent of these sins, reversing them in our lives to bless others. 

May we pray this passage not as an accusative attack against our culture, but as a lament for the condition of our own hearts and the heart of Christ’s church.

Lord rather then become like the people Paul warned Timothy of, 
May we be found by you and seen by the world as we are:
Showing love to outsiders
Shunning the allure of money and wealth
Praising others not ourselves
Being humble
Healing others in words and deed
Honoring our elders and parents
Living in gratitude
Being made holy by the Holy Spirit
Indwelt by love beyond ourselves
Forgiving
Truth telling and affirming
Calming
Tender and caring
Loving the good
Showing loyalty,
Sharing wisdom,
Shunning the spotlight
And sacrificing our pleasure to serve others.

May our repentance bring glory to Christ and not to ourselves and may Jesus’ name be praised.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Our God will come and will not keep silence; before him there is a consuming flame and round about him a raging storm. — Psalm 50.3

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 14 (Listen – 5:06)
2 Timothy 4 (Listen -2:48)

This Weekend’s Readings
2 Kings 15 (Listen – 6:21), Titus 1 (Listen -2:24)
2 Kings 16 (Listen – 3:46), Titus 2 (Listen -2:01)

Thank You!
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Read more about Confessing, Instead of Weaponizing PropheRather than weaponize Paul’s words to attack our culture with an accusing cry, we should instead cry for forgiveness and mercy as we recognize that these faults are also in us.

#WeaponizingTheBible #ConfessingSin #KingdomOfPriests #Repentance

https://theparkforum.org/843-acres/confessing-instead-of-weaponizing-prophecy/

Read more about Praying as Priests
As followers of God today, a part of our identity is as carriers of the blessings of God that are intended for the world.

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