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Whitney Williams - Death’s ugly reality

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WORLD Radio - Whitney Williams - Death’s ugly reality

Our highly sanitized lives make it too easy to ignore the true wages of sin


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NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, April 26th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s WORLD commentator Whitney Williams on the outrage of death, and the hope of the Resurrection of Christ.

WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: It was the evening before Easter—known to some as Silent Saturday, though I just discovered that this year. I was sitting by a campfire overseeing the roasting of hot dogs—“ketchup or mustard?” I asked each of my children, a bag of buns in my lap. My husband was several hundred yards away making one last cast (again and again) before packing up his fishing poles for the weekend. We planned to load up everything but our tent that evening in hopes of making a quick getaway for our church’s Easter service the next morning.

Mid-condiment squirt, I received the following text from a neighbor: “Hey, are you guys home?” Before I could respond that we weren’t, another text came in. “We have a rabbit that got caught in our fence. He’s going to die, but it’s in pain. Can you tell us how to kindly, humanely kill a rabbit?”

Kindly, humanely kill. Hmm.

After a few exploratory texts, I gathered the following from my distraught friend and discussed the situation with my husband: All of the nearby veterinarians were closed. The mobile vet couldn’t get there until the next week and had told my friend that, based on her description and a photo, the rabbit was beyond rehabilitation. My friend did not have a gun.

I’ll spare you the details of my husband’s and my suggestions on how to kill the rabbit, but eventually, after much trepidation, she and her husband put the mangled animal out of its misery.

My friend told me that she couldn’t stop crying. She hated death so much.

As the sun dipped down below the horizon and the day turned to night, my husband and I discussed our society’s overall distance from death.

Back in the day, we mused, killing and death was a part of everyday living—at least for meat-eaters. It’s still a part of our everyday lives, of course, but we outsource it. We don’t want to think about the fact that something had to die so that we might live.

No, we like to avoid the thought of death at all costs. We medicate it. Dress it up. Put lipstick on it. Place it in a pretty box. We put posies in our pockets to mask the stench of it and opt for celebration of life services in place of funerals. Now, I’m not saying any of this is wrong—in fact, I want full make-up and big ol’ Texas hair at my funeral. And I’m certainly not against comfort measures for the dying. But perhaps the living have become too comfortable. Out of sight, out of mind.

Until a rabbit comes along, bloody, mangled, and suffering. Cancer. A car wreck. Covid. And suddenly, we find ourselves forced to face it, to face death—ugly, harsh, and final, the wages of sin smack us across the face.

“This isn’t right,” our souls cry out. “This is not how it is supposed to be!”

It’s not. And that realization is what finally makes us ready for Easter Sunday.

I’m Whitney Williams.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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