READ : Psalm 116
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (v. 15, niv)
Few verses in the Bible are more at odds with our culture than this one from Psalm 116, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” How can death be seen as precious in any imaginable way?
As Jesus repeated this psalm with his bewildered twelve gathered around him in the Upper Room, he must have thought of his own death and resurrection. And why would his death be precious? Because, to borrow from St. Paul, “Just as death came through one man so life comes through one man.” Jesus’ death is precious because it means life for us!
Shortly before my father-in-law died my wife Nancy asked him, “Dad, what was the best day of your life?” His answer was surprising and full of gospel hope: “Today!” How could it be today? she wondered. Old, sick, weak, still grieving his losses – how could today be the best day of his life? His explanation reflected time spent in the company of Jesus: “Because today I am one day closer to being with the Lord!” Apparently he knew what the psalmist meant, Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints!
Give us grace, O God, to face death unafraid in the confidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Amen.