[From Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral.]
[..] It's commonly assumed that Christians don't really believe in death at all, that we subscribe to the view that when we die we go on living in some other realm, or in some disembodied form. Just to be clear: I believe nothing of the sort. I don't like the euphemistic language of "passing on" or "having gone to sleep". Nor do I subscribe to Platonic ideas about the immortality of the soul. When you die, you die. As the first letter of St. Paul to Timothy puts it: "God alone is immortal"
Today is Ash Wednesday. Like millions of Christians around the world, I will be marked with ash and told that I am dust and to dust I shall return. There is nothing depressing or morbid about any of this - in fact, quite the reverse. Personally speaking, it leaves me with a more intense sense of the preciousness of human life, something that's intimately bound up with its intrinsic limit and fragility. Read more