For we cannot tarry here / We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger… —Walt Whitman, “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” from Leaves of Grass
It is said that Christopher Columbus struggled to find a crew for his ships because so many sailors feared heading into the unknown. Even when the royal secretary offered freedom for any prisoners who volunteered, the recruits numbered only a few. Fear of the unknown is powerfully paralyzing.
Death is one of life’s great unknowns, isn’t it? And we don’t have the option to refuse. For some, this is terrifying. For others, there is no fear. It’s as though they know the way has been cleared for them.
In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. (Hebrews 2:10)
The Greek word for “pioneer” is archegon, and it means “one who leads the way.” Sort of like a person bushwhacking through the jungle—his or her machete carving out a path. “Follow me, everyone!”
After Jesus went first, he made it possible for us to follow. Notice how the verse above says, “in bringing many sons and daughters to glory.” God anticipates a large family. His goal is to populate heaven.
The great unknown will someday be a glorious place shared by us. Do we trust the path through death that Jesus has carved? Will we accept His invitation to follow?
Suddenly, death has become quite the expedition.
Jesus, thanks for going first, thanks for defeating death, and thanks for paving the way for me! Amen.