Monday, November 2, 2009

Taking Your Idol with You to the Grave

Literally.

From Sunday's Washington Post front page:

Joe Kelly won't go as far as calling Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course a burial ground.
But the 91-year-old track historian is quite sure that Willie Doyle, who rode Effendi to victory in the 1909 Preakness, isn't the only guy whose remains are mingled with the turf where the great Seabiscuit and War Admiral famously battled.

"Oh yeah, it has happened fairly often, including a couple of bettors who were very well known," Kelly says. "They figured they'd spread their money around there; may as well spread their ashes."

While Doyle's choice of Pimlico's finish line as his final resting place is among the more colorful episodes in horseracing lore, it's hardly unique. From baseball parks to football stadiums to golf courses, sporting venues regularly field requests to scatter a loved one's cremated remains at the pitcher's mound, under a goal post or on a fairway overlooking the sea -- anywhere a sports hero has trod and triumphed.
Death is the ultimate reminder of our limitations, our creature-ness, if you will. We all are headed there and all will give an account to our Creator, yet without a changed heart, we will cling tenaciously to our idol(s) of choice, even to the cold recesses of the grave.

Perhaps to some die-hard sports fans, having their remains scattered or entombed in your sports temple of choice is a vain attempt to eternally live on in the ascribed glory of the gridiron or the race track.

But all human glory is fleeting. It never satisfies, and it always fades away.

That's why the witness of Christian burial can be such a powerful testimony to the victory of Christ over death, for Himself and by it for all who trust in Him [I Cor. 15:42-49; 53-57]:
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”;  the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.  The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.  As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall  also bear the image of the man of heaven.
 [...]
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The glory the Christian hopes for is to share in Christ's glorious return, forever dwelling in a body that can never die nor fall sick or grow weary.

The Christian in death witnesses to His hope not in some athlete or some sports franchise or any other earthly power or prince, but in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, who was slain and by whose blood there is forgiveness from sins and peace with God.

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2 comments:

非凡 November 12, 2009 at 1:47 AM  

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