Dig This

“You’ve been thinking about dying? Dig this” is a great line from a great song from a great R&B group. Their answer to the posed question of thinking about dying not so much. It is to remind yourself “Everybody plays the fool sometime/ There’s no exception to the rule.”

Everyone knows the Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 because those little Byrds told them. Everyone can celebrate that there’s a time to plant, to heal, to build, to laugh, to dance, embrace, love, and have peace. But the Ecclesiastic also said, “There is a time to die” (Eccles. 3:2).

Have you heard the one about the man told by his doctor he has six months to live? The man panics and says, “What can I do?” The doctor says, “Marry a woman with 6 kids and live in a shack with no water or electricity?” “Will that help me live longer?” “No,” says the doctor, “But it’ll be the longest six months of your life.”

We know time flies when we’re having fun and drags when not. When real tragedy strikes  it’s as if you can see the second hand pausing on the clock.

Well dig this from Teresa of Avila. She said that the most miserable earthly life seen from the perspective of heaven “looks like one night in an inconvenient hotel” (Handbook of…Apologetics, 142). This goes with inspired King telling us  “’Nothing but vapor. Totally vapor. Everything is just vapor that vanishes.’” James 4:14 affirms this. “What is your life? Indeed, it is a mist that appears for a little while and then disappears.”

So Kansas and even David didn’t go far enough. We’re less than dust in the wind; our frames are made of less than dust. We’re an effervescence. We’re the momentary breath on the glass that vanishes.

Two comforts: we vanish not a millisecond before our Lord says, “Come home.” A prince during the Reformation was handed a horoscope cast by a well-known astrologist in which he gave the prince’s death date. The prince sent the paper back with this scrolled on it: “My times are in Thy hand” (Ps. 31:15a). Second, you live in Word and Sacrament where the Eternal steps into time and redeems it (and you).

The Main Ingredient was right: Everyone does play the fool sometimes. Let’s be fools for Christ even as Paul said he was. Let us believe that to seek our life is to lose it and to lose it is to really find it. Let us believe God’s love in Christ is not negated by our sin, our death, or the Devil himself. Let us believe what Paul tells us , “The foolishness of God is wiser than men. (I Cor. 1:25). And with Monkees I ask, “Can you dig it?”


About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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