'O Death, Where is thy sting?"  

by David F. Calderon II

I can close my eyes and still see my father smiling and happy to be with us. In a park not so far away from this cemetery, it was a beautiful spring day many years ago. All of us children, seven in all plus my mother were sitting around him eager to learn yet another lesson. My father loved to teach us about a lot of things. My father loved to have his family around him and we loved him greatly.

     This particular morning the flowers were in full bloom and it was sunny and clear. My father would look and smile at us as he prepared a surprising theme. There were butterflies and birds and lady bugs everywhere. My father cupped his hand over a flower and captured a bee. We were all surprised and frightened and got really excited. Some of my younger sisters started to scream and cry. They were afraid of bees and were concerned that my father would get stung. But my father grabbed the bee by the wings and let the bee sting him on his arm. He pulled out the pulsating stinger from his arm and tossed it away.

      Still excited and screaming, we began to see how he played with the bee. He asked me to take the bee in my hand. I was terrified. He explained that the bee could not hurt me since he had removed the venomous stinger. So, reluctantly and cautiously I began to let the bee crawl on my hand and arm and before I new it I was laughing and giggling and showing off the bee to my brothers and sisters. I close my eyes and I see the delight in my father's eyes.

      I will never forget that day. Little did we know, that the lesson we were about to learn that day, would be the greatest lesson of all. You see, almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ took the sting away from death when He died on the cross. "O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55) He was almost telling us to challenge death to show its teeth. Death has none because of Jesus Christ's death on the cross for us.

     Recalling that lesson would later help us to endure what was unavoidable. When my father died we all remembered that lesson that now helps us to understand that my father lives on. He lives with Jesus in eternity. Now, we all look forward to the time when we sit around my father again in heaven with Jesus. Life does not have to end in the grave. The grave can only be the beginning.

I asked Jesus, "How much do you love me?"
"This much," he answered, and he stretched out his arms and died.

Other articles by David F. Calderon II:
'What a cheap way to go!'        Snowstorm in the High Sierras
  A Matter of Life and Death

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