For All Saints and All Souls this year, I decided to read William Stringfellow’s wee little bookie called Instead of Death. After all, who would not be intrigued by a book of that title, purportedly first written for high school students and sporting this bizarre cover art?
They do not make youth curricula like this anymore, which is a shame because I wish I had heard some of the things in this text when I was in high school. Throughout his discussions of loneliness, sex, and work (you know, all the things that kids these days love to talk about with adults), Stringfellow continually returns to the countercultural gospel of resurrection, arguing that it is the only good news in a world fear-bound by death.
This text was filled with small gems of wisdom, but this will stick with me:
Thus the vocation of the baptized person is a simple thing: it is to love from day to day, whatever that day brings, in this extraordinary unity, in this reconciliation with all people and all things, in this knowledge that death has no more power, in this truth of the Resurrection. It does not really matter what exactly a Christian does from day to day. What matters is that in whatever the Christian does it is done in honor of the triumph of Christ over death and, therefore, in honor of his or her own life, given by God and restored to each in Christ, and in honor of the life into which all people and all things are called. The only thing that really matters is to live in Christ instead of death.