While traveling through Europe the summer after my high school graduation I made an interesting observation about many of the ancient cathedrals–their walls were often adorned with the likenesses of human skulls. Although a Pirates of the Caribbean skull-laden decor is the last look I would want in my own church, I think the architects of those early sanctuaries were on to something: when we live our lives from the grave looking back we live lives of greater significance and impact.
There’s no question that a recognition of our mortality can inspire a determination to live our remaining days well. And personally I find that to be one of the sobering blessings of being a pastor. Whenever I’m preparing thoughts to share with the friends and family members of departed loved ones, I find myself wondering what people will say about me. And inevitably I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s famous statement: “I am not afraid of what history will say about me, for I intend to write it.”
I want to do the same–I want my life to be a living script that my loved ones can recite at my memorial service.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “Death is the destiny of every man; and the living should take it to heart.” Let’s take those ancient words to heart, and then go out and live, laugh, and love in a way that honors God and serves the world around us.