Third Sunday After Easter: A Passing Shadow That Can Not Be Stopped


Third Sunday After Easter: A Passing Shadow That Can Not Be Stopped

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims. (I Peter 2:11)

A little boy who was out flying his kite let it rise higher and higher until it could no longer be seen. A man walked by and noticed the string in the boy’s hand. Looking up at the sky he said, “I can’t even see your kite. How do you know it’s still there?” “Because,” the boy replied, “I can feel its tug.”

As Christians, we can feel the tug of Heaven. We have a longing for something that Earth never can deliver. We know that ultimately, only Heaven can. The great moments on Earth are just pale imitations of greater things to come. We were created for something more—much more.

Saint Augustine said of God,

“Thou has made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.”

Because of this homesickness for Heaven, we see this world—its culture and way of thinking—for what it is. Saint John says “For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence (lust) of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world." (I John 2:16)

We read in I Chronicles 29:15:

For we are sojourners before thee, and strangers, as were all our fathers. Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and there is no stay. (I Chronicles 29:15). ….Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and there is no stay.

What does it mean when it comes to our days there is no stay? It means that there is No hope to escape death for any person, young or old. Or in today's language, “Our time on earth is like a passing shadow, and we cannot stop it.” See the truth of this statement as this year is almost at the half way point. Think of the deaths of some of the rich and famous this year.

Frank Robinson: February 7, 2019 (Frank Robinson was a trailblazer, record-breaker and one of the greatest baseball players ever. In a career that spanned 21 seasons, Robinson became the first black manager in the major leagues when he took the helm of the Cleveland Indians in 1975)

Peter Tork, February 21, 2019 (Bass guitarist and singer for the Monkees)

Jim Fowler: May 8, 2019 (appeared on and hosted the TV series "Wild Kingdom" )

Sister Wendy Beckett: December 26, 2018 Catholic nun and noted art historian, she hosted a number of programs about art on the BBC and PBS and is the author of books on the same topic

Those are just a few famous people who died since December. You may be asking why I am thinking about such a morbid topic. I am starting to contemplate more and more each day my mortality. I have been thinking about the fact that we are strangers and pilgrims in this world. Each day could be a new chapter in my life and it could also be the last chapter in my life. I just don't know. And by the way....neither do you! I am not in the best of health but I am not “knocking on heavens door either.....at least....I don't think I am. But the reality is we all die. Although the numbers fluctuate, the average deaths in one day as of the time I wrote this sermon was 153,424 in one day.

Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and we can not stop it.”

These are sobering thoughts for us to think about. Very few people want to think about death. Death can come at any time, to a person of any age.

Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and we can not stop it.”

Even though most people don’t want to think about death, the Bible has a great deal to say about it.

The Bible says that all of us will die.

The Bible says, “as in Adam all die” (I Corinthians 15:22). The Bible says, “death passed upon all men” (Romans 5:12).

The Psalmist asked, “Who is the man that shall live, and not see death?” (Psalm 89:48).

And King Solomon answered, It is not in man's power to stop the spirit, neither hath he power in the day of death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

Even though we know that we are going to die, death always comes as a shock to us. I remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing, when I heard that my grandmother died. I remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing, when my father died. Each time I had heard the news it has sent a shockwave through my body.

Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and we can not stop it.”

I have attended many funerals. Each time, there is shock, and confusion, and sadness. You never get used to it. It always comes as a heavy blow. Job said, “Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries. Who cometh forth like a flower, and is destroyed, and fleeth as a shadow, and never continueth in the same state.” (Job 14:1-2).

Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and we can not stop it.” (I Chronicles 29:15).

Second, the Bible tells us to number our days.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

This means that we should realize how brief and uncertain life is – and we should use our time wisely.

One theologian said if you add up the days of childhood, when you are playing foolishly. And the time spent in sleep, rest and eating. It is more than half of your life, Do not count that time. Then, you also should not count the time that you will be sick. When all of this time is deducted, how very small the amount of time you have to put your Trust in Christ! There are only a few hours in a person’s life when he has the opportunities to live for Christ! None of us have more than a few hours to hear a sermon that can change our life.

Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and we can not stop it.” (I Chronicles 29:15).

This is the time to think about the salvation of your soul. This is the time to think about preparing for your death.

Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and there is no stay.” (I Chronicles 29:15).

Third, the Bible tells us we will either go to Heaven or to Hell when we die.

As a Christian, I must take very seriously what Jesus Christ said.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, came down from Heaven to die on the Cross and pay for your sins. He rose from the dead to give you life. There is no other way to escape punishment for your sins than by turning from them to Jesus Christ. And to follow him into Baptism.

He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:16).

Maybe you were baptized already as a child. That's fine, all the graces that had been given during your baptism as an infant is still there. But everyone, who comes to an age of accountability must make a decision for Christ for themselves. You can not depend on the faith of your parents anymore.

Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and there is no stay.” (I Chronicles 29:15).

You are faced with the possibility of death this year. You are faced with the inevitability of death at the end of your life. “So teach us,” O God, “to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul" (I Peter 2:11)

"For we are sojourners before thee, and strangers, as were all our fathers. Our days upon earth are as a shadow and we can not stop it." (I Chronicles 29:15)

We as Christians are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. Traveling toward eternity. And our trip is short.

Mark Twain said:

“Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”

And in conclusion Thomas Kempis, in the book “Imitation of Christ” had these words to say: “Thou oughtest so to order thyself in all thy thoughts and actions, as if today thou wert about to die. Labor now to live so, that at the hour of death thou mayest rather rejoice than fear.”



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