This has to be the worst day ever for the Jackson family, or for everyone who has suffered a loss.
Oh, there is the day when the person you love dies. That is a bad moment, to look at the stillness, and know there will never be any movement from this person ever again. There is the shudder you get when you touch the person and feel the eerie coolness, replacing the warmth that says there is blood flowing through the veins.
That’s a bad moment.
But the worst day ever is this day, when you walk in the funeral home or church or synagogue and see that damned casket. It isn’t as bad when you see “the body” right after it has been prepared for burial. You still have some days that “the body” will be on this earth, even if it is not breathing and talking.
You can still see him or her. You can touch …
But on this day, when that casket sits in front of the church or wherever, and you know that in a matter of hours, that box will be lowered into the ground … your guts spill out, and the supreme loss that death means for us becomes a sickening reality.
It is the worst day ever.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Oh death, where is thy victory? Where is thy sting?” We in the Christian tradition tend to take those words and work them into a reminder that because of Jesus, there is everlasting life and therefore, death did not win.
But that’s a hard line to tow on this, the worst day ever.
The good thing is that Katherine Jackson and his family and the world will always be in touch with Michael because of his music. It is timeless. He left a legacy, which is what he wanted to do.
As I was thinking about it all this morning, it occured to me that leaving a legacy was the best way, or one of the best, to help people with this “eternal life” thing. Ah, death could take away the body, but could never and can never erase the gifts of God that people use to the utmost while they are yet alive.
In that regard, death really did lose.
But on this, the worst day ever, the fact that that stupid box called a casket will take the remains of a beloved son, brother, father and icon and hold him in the ground …there is no way to erase the sense of loss everyone feels.
And that’s a candid observation.