Here are a couple of statements from an early Christian leader. He left this Earth and all its woes and sorrows approximately A.D. 65:
“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
In the almost 2,000 years since Paul of Tarsus was martyred (according to tradition) by that wantonly savage beast, Roman emperor Nero, Christians have been comforted in times of bereavement, strengthened in times of fiery persecution, and filled with exhilarating hope in times of disappointment and dreariness by those words Christ’s apostle wrote long ago in letters to his fellow Christians in Corinth and Philippi.
They promise not merely the continuation of self conscious existence, but also of life that is LIFE indeed. They promise the personal, full fruition of God consciousness, of seeing Him in Whose presence there is fullness of joy, of being with Him at Whose right hand there are pleasures forevermore.
Now here is a prediction. In this Orwellian, Newspeak time where linguistic IEDs are hidden in the landscape of open conversation, Christians expressing their hopes that extend beyond the grave will be counted as “entertaining thoughts of suicide.” (This despite the fact that Paul’s words refer to physical death, but say nothing of death by suicide: recognized by Christians as a sin against God our loving Creator and a horrible tragedy whenever it occurs.)
Is the day coming? On that day, suffering Christian, tell the wrong person how you long to be with your Savior in Heaven and be prepared to be denounced or reported as a danger to yourself and society, a threat that must be removed, an “extremist” whom the DHS or whatever new or expanded agency of the ever ballooning nanny state must control.
Since my predictions are quite fallible, I can only hope that I am dead wrong. Oops, I better use a different word for emphasis. I hope I am plain wrong. That’s more appropriate here on the threshold of the drab, colorless, humorless, oppressive society we might become.
As Paul might have written (transliterated from the Greek) ME GENOITA! Translation: May it never be! God forbid!