If you were to be remembered for only one thing that you said what might it be?
Benjamin Franklin was one of the brightest minds of eighteenth century America.
He invented bifocal glasses (so, if that if what you are wearing to read this, you know whom to thank), the lightning rod, and numerous other things. He was a political campaigner, instrumental in the emergence of the United States as a nation and the first American ambassador to France.
And yet, the way that I see and hear him referred to is in variations on a quotation from a letter he wrote in 1789:
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
A throw away line, but one that has endured, because of its truth.
Death and taxes: nothing else is certain. And some people seem to do pretty well at escaping taxes (something to remember the next time I order something from Amazon, say). But Death is the inescapable fact with which eventually all of us will have to deal.
It has been said of the Victorians (not entirely fairly) that they were obsessed with death and embarrassed by sex; whereas we have reversed that.
We find ourselves embarrassed by, afraid of, and hiding from death - perhaps because it is so inescapable. Rather like the black hole that was recently pictured for the first time: it sucks everything in and lets nothing back out.
If only there were someone who had come back, and not only escaped from Death, but defeated it, so that was no need to fear it.
That was the claim that Jesus first followers, His eyewitnesses, made.
They were so convinced of it, that they were willing to die for it.
What about you?