Bringing the Death Tape to Life: A Homily

by Jeff Hood

Death is the will — it’s the will of the Sovereign Being.  But to me, death is not — uh, death is not a fearful thing.  Death is laying down your burdens.  Death is just going to sleep…  Moving from death to life.

Often, our words in times of death sound very similar to the final words of Jim Jones on the death tape.  While they are intended to be words of assurance, they are words that ultimately push people towards death.  Jim Jones knew what he was doing.  So often, I don’t think we do.  Surely, words of life could have served the people of Jonestown better than what they heard, and now those words can serve us better too.  Think about if the people of Jonestown had heard this:

Life is the will — it’s the will of the Sovereign Being.  But to me, life is not — uh, life is not a fearful thing.  Life is laying down your burdens.  Life is just waking up…  Moving from death to life.

Listen.  Instead of focusing on bringing about the death of life, we should always focus on bringing life to death. Life depends on it.

Amen.

(Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood is a Baptist pastor, theologian and activist living and working in Arkansas. He writes regularly at https://www.patheos.com/blogs/jeffhood/. His other article for this edition of the jonestown report is Clarity: A Dense Personal/Theological Interaction with Rev. John Moore’s “Witness to Tragedy and Resurrection”.

(Jeff’s other article in this edition of the jonestown report is Clarity: A Dense Personal/Theological Interaction with Rev. John Moore’s “Witness to Tragedy and Resurrection”. His complete works for this site may be found here. He can be reached at jeffrey.k.hood@gmail.com.)

Originally posted on September 23rd, 2021.

Last modified on October 12th, 2021.
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