Robin Williams and life and death
My social media feeds are full of friends lamenting the suicide of Robin Williams and quoting their favourite films of his. The shock is obvious when you go through the list: every one involves Williams radiating energy, vitality. For me, it's Good Morning, Vietnam, where he is simply unleashed on screen and was the funniest thing I'd ever seen, so fast and so clever. That's what makes this news so horrible, the jarring contrast between the life (we should probably pronounce it "LIIIIIFFFFFFFFFE!!!!" as Williams' characters surely would) and death.
It isn't ever natural; sudden, shocking deaths like this tell us that starkly. Death is an imposter, an enemy. Christianity faces up to this honestly but not without hope. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the start of a great defeat which will be accomplished by His inextinguishable Life. That's the only hope there is.
"And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death...
"Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."(1 Corinthians 15:19-26, 54-58)