Today I feel like we’ve all lost a friend, whether you agree with him theologically or not, Billy Joe cared about people. He wanted to bring them the good news of the gospel, and no one can be faulted for that. While I myself had some serious grievances about his theology at times, and still do, He attempted to work for the gospel.
I worry for the church, and all those who might feel an inexplicable act of abandonment has happened here. But I wish to extend comfort to those in grief, and say that while this loss is here, Billy Joe was not abandoned by God. He was most charismatically present to Billy Joe precisely in His weakness, and He can be most present to us, precisely in this loss, because we know that something else is really happening here. That’s what the Resurrection means.
He’ll be missed, but let us remember that this is not the end, not for him, nor for us. We mourn with they who mourn this, in solace, and with patience, knowing that Death is our enemy. Yet we can know that this death, like all death, will not have the final word.
I’d like to close with this short piece by Chrysostom on the Resurrection:
“Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free. He who was held by death, eradicated death. He plundered Hades when He descended into Hades. He embittered it, when it tasted of His flesh, and this being foretold by Isaiah when he cried: Hades said it was embittered, when it encountered Thee below.
Embittered, for it was abolished.
Embittered, for it was ridiculed.
Embittered, for it was put to death.
Embittered, for it was dethroned.
Embittered, for it was made captive.
It received a body and by chance came face to face with God. It received earth and encountered heaven. It received that which it could see, and was overthrown by Him whom he could not see. Where, O death, is your sting? Where, O Hades is your victory?
Christ is risen, and thou art cast down.
Christ is risen, and the demons have fallen.
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen, and life is liberated.
Christ is risen, and no one remains dead in a tomb.
For Christ having risen from the dead, has become the first-fruits of those that have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power, for ever and ever. Amen.”- Chrysostom
Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again.