The other day while walking in the cemetery I saw two blackbirds sitting on tombstones. Now ever since the movie “The Birds” a gathering of birds, particularly those of the ebony hue conjures up some suspicion. That they were sitting on tombstones also brings to mind Edgar Allan Poe. However, the reason blackbirds usually congregate is that they have an owl or a hawk cornered. A quick scan of nearby trees didn’t indicate any birds of prey seeking refuge among the leaves.
The blackbirds reminded me that they are not the enemy, but point in some way to our last enemy, death. This morning a blue tarp over a mound of dirt and a sheet of plywood covering a rectangular excavation awaits another person who has succumbed to the last enemy.
St. Paul also calls death a sleep. The guarantee that we shall awake from that “sleep, is that “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” Thus though movies, Edgar Allan Poe and blackbirds remind us of the enemy which lies in wait; nevertheless, death will not end up the victor. Death will not be the one who will write the history of our life. As Paul says later in I Corinthians 15, “For the trumpet will sound, and dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” Christ is the first of an imperishable fruit and one day, though our bodies are spoiled by sin, illness and death, Christ will raise us with new bodies, imperishable as well.
Perhaps the next time the blackbirds sit on the tombs I should quote St. Paul, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”