Letter from David Robertson

Brothers and Sisters, 

A couple of weeks ago we saw that one of the messages of Covid is a call to repentance and prayer.  This week let’s reflect on another message. Covid reminds us that we are mortal. 

Of course intellectually we all know that we are mortal – but do we really ‘know’ it? In the sense that we feel that knowledge and live that knowledge?  Much of our media coverage seems to be working on the shocking news that all of us will die. We get the endless headlines of how many people have died – as though this was not normal. Consider that in Australia just over 900 people have died this year with Covid. Every year 170,000 people die in Australia – in other words every two days the total number of people who have died with Covid, is matched by ‘normal’ deaths. Worldwide every day more than 150,000 people die – almost 50,000 from cardiovascular diseases, 26,000 from cancers, 18,000 from respiratory, 7,000 from dementia, 3,500 from road accidents, 3,300 from tuberculosis,  2,200 from suicides.  So far this year about 4,000 people with Covid have died per day (although the cause of death is often other pre-existing conditions – for example if you are one of the 50,000 daily deaths from cardiovascular and you have Covid, it will be recorded as a Covid death). I’m not trying to be morbid – but it is a fact of life that all of us are dying. And yet that is a fact that we do not want to face up to. 

It’s strange how out of balance our society has become on this issue.  Of course Covid is serious – and in many cases deadly. But the response and fear does seem to be disproportionate. We are not able to visit friends or family in Queensland for example because the Premier wants to protect people from death – especially the sick and elderly who are the most vulnerable. However that same Premier announced this week that if re-elected she will permit euthanasia – the killing of especially the sick and elderly! In New Zealand Jacinda Ardern was re-elected with a majority largely because of her impressive performance over Covid. She is perceived as being responsible for saving lives. Yet at the same time she has introduced the most radical pro-abortion agenda in the Western world – allowing abortion up to birth for no reason. Does any of this make sense?  

But what does make sense is the biblical teaching about death. That it is not ‘normal’ – that it is an aberration, an enemy, which needs to be defeated. Try as they might none of our politicians can save us from death. All they do is enact policies which may, or may not, delay the inevitable. And this is where the Christian hope really comes in. 

Hosea 13:14 (quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15) is a great verse for us to meditate upon: 

“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
Where, O grave, is your destruction?”  (victory). 

“A young man, as we say, may die soon; an old man cannot live long. And therefore let those that are stricken in years be put in mind to think that their time is shorter than others. All men’s times are short, old men’s shortest.” (Sibbes) 

In 2011 I was a typical middle aged man – knowing intellectually that I would die, fearing death emotionally, but not really grasping the reality. Then I ended up in hospital almost dying. That experience taught me to number my days – not so that I live in fear but rather live in reality – and the sure and certain hope of the resurrection. Is that your hope? 

This weeks resources: 

  • I wrote about the death experience here.
  • This is a wonderful sermon on ‘boasting in the Cross’ from Tim Keller – Click here.
  • Someone sent me this fabulous song from Eric Bibb – from the US but now based in Finland…this should bring a smile to your face!

Finally, we had a great men’s breakfast last Saturday. The next one will be on the 7th of November at 8am in the Memorial Hall. We continue to look at The Way Forward and investigate the section entitled “Men are Unconvinced” as we continue to assess hindrances to spiritual growth and the way ahead. Put it in your diary and don’t forget to book in..

Your brother,
David Robertson

As usual, feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or suggestions for outreach and evangelism, or would even just like to meet up.