By Evan Wilson
Austin, TX (April 18, 2014) — Editor’s note: From time to time, we come across articles by Covenanters in church newsletters, individual blogs, and other media that we believe may interest our readers. Evan Wilson has been a part of Vox Veniae Church in Austin, Texas, for nine years. This reflection originally appeared in a church zine published for Holy Week.
Much of our mythology about death springs from the dismemberment of forgottenness. Wandering in and out of common consciousness, zombies, ghosts, and hauntings are fragments of the dead, unable to hold together in the face of unrelenting entropy and our constantly fading memories.
The cosmic nothingness of death embodied by these specters—that irreversible “not” forever removing the “is” of our present—is perhaps our greatest fear. It is also the primal force that drives us to our greatest failures. From the mummification rites of ancient kings, to modern wars fought by small men in the name of empire, the greed, inhumanity, and violence in our world are attempts to beat the clock, to escape the ultimate erasure toward which a Christ-less cosmos unavoidably ushers each of us finally and totally alone.
The kingdom of God answers this vortex of brokenness and dissipation with the unthinkable: one pierced hand held out for another in the middle of the chaos. In the midst of the existential misery of the cross cloaked in darkness, both Christ and the thief utter last-ditch calls for remembrance—Christ in the Eucharist, the criminal in Paradise. The death-bound Christ’s humble plea for friendship—that we remember him in his death—is also a plea that we re-member our broken selves, through his dismembered body and blood, with God, ourselves, and each other.
It is a plea that we live in the confidence that somewhere—in the midst of ligaments snapping, photographs yellowing, stories fading into silence, and Death like a shrouded butler escorting us irresistibly to cold rooms that will not be visited—Paradise comes, and there is, at last, a putting-back-together of all us petty thieves.
Evan Wilson is a micro-enterprise coordinator in Austin, Texas, for Mobile Loaves & Fishes, where he provides dignified income opportunities to homeless woodworkers and artists. He also spent two years serving in Afghanistan with NGOs specializing in community development and literacy. He is married to Grace Wilson.