When John Owen, the great Puritan, lay on his deathbed, his secretary wrote in his name to a friend, “I am still in the land of the living.”
“Stop,” said Owen. “Change that and say, ‘I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.”
What a thought as we come running into Holy Week! We are in the land of the dying. It is true for everyone of us who takes breathe. It is with this great reality that we came to Ash Wednesday several weeks ago, "From the dust you have come and to the dust you shall return." We watch over the next few days how even Jesus when faced with the reality of mortality breaks down in tears in the garden.
Still, ours is not the land of the dying. Our future and our hope lies in the land of the living that waits on the other side of the viel. With that in mind, what do we have to fear? Why do we continue to be held by fear? Do we not believe? Have we not faith? Have we not hope?
If we be Christian, if we truly believe that ours lies in the land and time God will make home among mortals, and God wipe away every tear and death will be no more and the covenant will be fulfilled, "I will be their God and they will be my people," then let us no more live as people who are going to grave, but live as people prepared to enter the land of the living.