Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memento Mori

Memento mori. Standing behind each Roman general was a slave, whispering this Latin phrase into the general’s ear as he rode triumphant into Rome. It means: Remember, you are mortal.

Some forgot it.

Unlike the generals, we don’t need to hear those words when dealing with God, for He has changed that for us:

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:52-55 KJV)

There is another side to this immortality, as shown in Daniel:

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2 KJV)

Somehow the concept of shame and contempt is not apparent in our society. Today, whether it is in entertainment, politics or our own communities, a public apology appears to return things to normal – and often apologies appear more as a regret for being caught rather than shameful remorse.

John the Baptist’s message was repentance: In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:1-2 KJV)

And the One who came after him did not change the message after His time in the wilderness: From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17 KJV)

The theme continues through the gospels:

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:1-5 KJV)

Remember, you really are mortal – but not forever.

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