From The Time
Off The Wall, April 2, 2010

Many of us have raised children. From the moment of learning of the pregnancies to birth itself, all that went through our minds was not only bringing life into the world, but gender and future of the child.

But with that comes the hard core facts of life. From the moment we are born, it’s just a matter of time, we re going to die. I know what some of you are thinking. I am getting morbid again, but really not, at least in my opinion. There really aren’t any promises to how long we live. Some may be blessed with longevity of life, while others a very short one. Some will die of natural causes and others illnesses or injuries. And the remainder will voluntarily take their lives.

We’ve all heard there is no guarantee affixed to length of age.

It’s funny (at least to me) how some persons will try their darndest to extend their lives by going to any extend to try to ward off dying. However, as my wife puts it, “Something’s going to get you.” Death is inevitable.

With that said, back just before Christmas, I was pleasantly greeted by a minister of one of the local churches here in Latrobe. We were both in the Latrobe Post Office standing in line preparing to send packages or buy stamps or something of that nature, I really don’t remember.

His greeting went like this – “Ready for Christmas?” I shrugged my shoulder a couple times and may have even shook my head in a negative fashion, but muttered something to be polite. It wasn’t until I was walking home that the Holy Spirit started playing with my brain waves. The first two words captured my attention. I began wondering if this man of the cloth was referring to finishing purchasing presents, as is the custom of the holiday, or was his question much deeper? Perhaps, was I ready for Jesus Christ’s birthday and ready to rejoice that God had sent His Son into the world to save man from his sinfulness?

What then about Easter? Do we hear people say, “Ready for Easter?” It might be a “me” thing, but I don’t. I have been listening to talk about ordering candy, coloring eggs or maybe buying that special hat – the Easter bonnet – to attend church. And even though I’ve heard some Christians tell me that Christmas is not as important as Easter, I do not share that viewpoint.

When Christ came into our messed up world, he brought us life underscored with love attached to Him, told his followers how to forgive and shared his mercy. In parallel, by dying on the cross for us, he also brought us all of the above and more. As an innocent man, He paid a price for our sinfulness of which we can never reciprocate.

We all know the scripture verse – John 3:16. – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” We see it flashed from the stands at ball games, on billboards or discussed from the pulpit. I can’t help but feel it is one of the most popular verses from the Holy Scriptures.

Here again, we can see a parallel. During the offset of Christmas, Christ entered the world to give us life when originally the world was in darkness. During Easter, we celebrate His death and resurrection as we are given life with Him eternally as is noted in John 3:16. Being knowledgeable about these facts is one thing. Believing with all one’s heart that what is read in the above scripture alone takes one from fiction into fact.

When I began this column, I dabbled on the subject of death for a particular reason. Just knowing that it is inevitable and it’s bound to happen sometime, should clue us in that death is coming, maybe not tomorrow, three months from today, or four years from next week. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

Realize one cannot achieve eternal life by just giving to charities, just treating your neighbor as yourself, or going to church. By themselves, none of these will get you into heaven. But, in addition, truly seeking God with a heart of repentance, asking for his grace and mercy, may. It’s a proven fact. Know that God wants to continue to take us on a journey from life into eternal life.

May each of you have a wonderful, joyous, blessed Easter.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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