We go through all the different experiences of life and after evaluation we are usually disappointed. We dream about growing up and look back on our youth with nostalgia. We look forward to our first jobs, getting married, 03 is tha allhaving children, buy our first home and dozens of other things. As we look back we see that there is still some longing we expected to be met that gnaws at our souls. We go to funerals of our loved ones and begin to take seriously our mortality. We cannot help but ask “is that all there is?” Solomon puts that dilemma this way in Ecclesiastes 1:4, “Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.” It reminds me of the line from the song “Dust in the Wind” by a group called Kansas. The singer croons, “don’t hang on nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky. We slip away and all your money won’t another minute buy.” The song, “Old Man River” captures the frustration of man in an environment that stays the same while one generation of mankind passes away and another one comes. One verse says, “He don’t plant taters, He don’t plant cotton, and those that plants ‘em is soon forgotten. But that ole’ man river, he just keeps rollin’ along.”

I’m on the Holy Name High School Alumni email news list and get frequent updates. Often there are prayer requests for others who have passed away or have lost loved ones. Increasingly I’m seeing people from my own class and even later on the deceased list. I read the Omaha World Herald obituaries more diligently than ever and often see names of old acquaintances. What lies beyond the grave is receiving a lot more attention from me than it used to.

According to David Jeremiah, Rabbi Harold Kushner received a letter that said, “Two weeks ago, for the first time in my life, I went to the funeral of a man my own age. I didn’t know him well, but we worked together, talked to each other from time to time, had kids about the same age. He died suddenly over the weekend. A bunch of us went to the funeral, each of us thinking, ‘It could just as easily have been me.’ That was two weeks ago. They have already replaced him at the office. I hear his wife is moving out of state to live with her parents. Two weeks ago he was working fifty feet away from me, and now it’s as if he never existed. It’s like a rock falling into a pool of water, and then the water is the same as it was before, but the rock isn’t there anymore. Rabbi, I’ve hardly slept at all since then. I can’t stop thinking that it could happen to me, and a few days later I will be forgotten as if I had never lived. Shouldn’t a man’s life be more than that?” Jesus came to tell us that it is indeed more than that. Jesus called Himself “the bread of life.” Hughes argues that the idea of bread means that Christ is absolutely indispensable. Since bread was the staple of life in those days, it was difficult for people to conceive of life without bread. Is it difficult for us to conceive of life without Christ? What if there was no Christ? How would that change our lives? The refrain from an old Peggy Lee song asks, “Is that all there is? Is that all there is?” What is your life like? Is that all there is?