Eddie Van Halen died. Facebook is flooded with pictures of him hammering the neck of his guitar with an open shirt, flowing brown locks, and a wicked smile. Forever Young, Bob Dylan sings. He was 65. It seems like he was 25 yesterday. You know the litany about the speed of time.
People might say he died young. Of course, he surpassed his rock-n-roll god brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Gram Parsons, Kurt Cobain, etc. Still it was under the median age of a man’s life expectancy in the USA, so we feel bad.
When someone dies at 90, we strangely comfort ourselves by recognizing she lived well past the average. Yet, when a child dies, we are heartbroken and words fail to comfort. “He died too young,” we lament.
We all die too young. There is no good age limit. We all die too young because we are not supposed to die at all. I still remember comforting a woman who was angry at the hospital, at her mom, and at God as she came to grips with her mom’s death. Her mom was 93. I did not say it, but I wanted to say, “What did you think was going to happen?” But she was shocked. Looking back, that is the appropriate response. It does not matter how old someone is – death sucks! Her feelings were correct. Her mom was not supposed to die.
Crying is allowed at funerals. It is ok to not be happy about death. Death does not belong in life. It is absolutely not natural! Everyone dies too young.
Whether it is a funeral for a 100-year-old man with 100 great grandchildren, or a funeral for a 3-year-old, the powerful earth-shattering message of Christ needs to be proclaimed to aching hearts! Christ has put an end to the false cycle of life and death. He has broken the chain that clings to icons of God. In the big scheme of things, old and young are nothing in the drop of eternity’s ocean and both will rise alive on that glorious day!
Come Lord Jesus
(Writing this while listening to ‘too young to die’ by Agent Orange. Tell me you don’t like that.)