After the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, died, some leaders – having a magical faith in the power of science – wanted to embalm Lenin, believing that eventually through Soviet science he would be brought back to life.
The first key to this eventual resurrection was preserving the body. Despite their best efforts, though, the corpse kept decaying, and only by intensive work and constant attention was it preserved. Many claim much of it is just wax.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, some wanted him buried and done with. Others from the older generation wanted to keep him on display, which he still is. However, Lenin requires a lot of work. The corpse gets an extreme makeover every year and a half. The mausoleum is closed for two months, and the body is immersed in a bath of glycerol and potassium acetate for 30 days. Though it’s said that Lenin now looks younger than he did for decades, no one is talking any more about him being resurrected.
Whether the context is supposed zombies, or the scientific resurrection of Comrade Lenin, there’s no question that, as human beings, we live with the spectre of death. No matter who we are, how much money, position, or power we have, none of us are immune to death, which sooner or later always wins, despite our best efforts.
Thus, part of our own story, our own journey, is dealing with death. Not just the prospect of our own, which is bad enough, but with the death that we see all around us, the death that touches us, the death that scares us, that threatens us – and that is so hard to understand.
What we do understand, though, is that we are in the midst of a great controversy, a real battle between good and evil. And we have seen that sickness, suffering, and death are all part of this struggle.
At the same time, we have repeated the central claim of Christianity, which is that Jesus – though the Creator of the Universe – came down, took upon Himself our humanity, and bore in Himself the full brunt of all the evil in the world, in order to finally end that evil once and for all.
And one of the most central of all evils is death. Hence the promise: