Have you ever walked among the dead? I mean to really spend some time getting a feel for them. I enjoy walking among them, or rather, walking over them. The grass under my feet hides the 6-foot gap of separation between me and the decaying discarded shells.
Many times in my life I have lived near a cemetery and I would often walk around reading headstones and wondering about the people below my feet. What was their story? Some old ornate headstones made me wonder why a monument was erected for one, while the next grave might be insignificant in comparison. One thing that the dead have in common, besides being dead, is the dash. That little en-dash. How significant is that little dash!
Love, romance, betrayal, loyalty, courage, faith … the stories continue with endless variations from one grave to another.
How long was the en-dash of their lives? That little line that defines the to and through and in-between of parameters. We all end up on the dash — not a cute bobble on the dashboard of a car driving off into the sunset, but between two certainties of life, birth and death, with taxes tossed in for good measure!
Those of us alive today, we live with a hyphen – indicating that we are missing an element, so we live in the ‘to be continued’ the extension of life not knowing when the hyphen will turn into an en-dash. Between birth and death, we live on the dash.
My mother has an en-dash. She resides between two numbers that define her finite life. She was so much more than a dash carved in stone. She lived. Yet I wonder like I do for the other dead people I visit, did she know God? Is she in heaven or hell? Where is the soul that is represented by that little en-dash?
The headstones remind me that the body of this person is dead. But the Bible tells me that there is another death that many are held captive in. The death of the soul. That is the first death. God said that the soul that sins will die. All sin, great or small cut us from the living God leaving us with a dead soul yet a living body that ages and is subject to sickness and death. A real zombie situation. Most of the people alive today are zombies. They have a living body and a dead soul. They are not born again. They are dead before the living God. Jesus came to give life to those dead in sin. By giving His life and taking my death, I am alive to the living God. My name is in the book of life.
Those who die with a dead soul will stand before Jesus and the great white throne when hell and death will be cast into the lake of fire. And also those who are not alive in Christ will be cast with death into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Eternity is a long dash that never ends. There are no headstones with an en-dash showing an ending of the soul. Thank God for sending his son to give the zombie eternal life.