by now  the news that osama bin laden is dead is old hat, and the media is already moving on to other things. its interesting to note that it was only a week ago that the news brought with it an enormous reaction around the world, but none greater than in our own country. streets were filled with celebrations, large crowds of complete strangers held hands and hugged one another while singing patriotic songs.  the new york daily news wrote:

New Yorkers took to the streets Sunday night, rising up in a passionate chorus of patriotic pride over news that America’s most wanted man was dead. People crowded into Times Square and in the streets around Ground Zero, fists pumping and flags waving… Spontaneous choruses of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” filled the clear night air.

ap photo - tina feinberg

Draped in the American flag, Pedro Valerio, of Elizabeth, N.J., right, and others in New York's Times Square react to the news of Osama Bin Laden's death early Monday morning May 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

the debate has already begun regarding the appropriateness of celebrating over the death of one who, by all accounts, never trusted in christ and so has just enetered into an eternity of torment- paying the price for his rebellion against god.(some good thoughts on this here, here,  and here).

i’m still sorting through those thoughts, but for today my mind moves to a different vantage point regarding this news and the response to it.

the country is coming together as, in many ways, hasn’t been see since the events  and days following september 11, 2011. bin laden’s death won’t bring world peace, but it brings a sense of justice. for now, there is a mostly unified spirit of patriotism and celebration. but over time, just as happened following the weeks, months, & years of 9/11, we will move on and something else will grab the headlines. the sentiment will remain, “justice has been served”, but the intentional celebration of the fact will wane and fade away.

this makes me think about the church and our reaction to another death. justa couple of weeks ago we were finishing up celebration’s of the death and resurrection of jesus christ. there was a lot of talk and pageantry regarding those events- but it didn’t take long for us to move on. and our lives as christians are often that way. we are thankful for the gospel, but day in and day out- we have other things that are more pressing that occupy our thoughts.

the gathering of christ’s church (another crowd of people from different backgrounds, ages & stages of life) should be a much greater celebration– because  our hero died a death that really will bring peace- & not only that, His resurrection gives us lasting hope that death & injustice will forever be eradicated.

that is why we worship. that is why we gather together each week– to celebrate our savior & rejoice that his life & death is more than a moral victory- it is the hope of all mankind. and for that reason our celebration of the executed (and risen!) savior should be louder, stronger, & sustained infinitely longer than the celebration over the death of an executed villain.