Stanley Hauerwas gets it oh so right. It’s a classic ordination interview question: “Why did Jesus have to die?” For me, it’s because God, responding to our own suffering and death, endured the same so that it might be said: “You are not alone, even in death. Even in the worst of it, there am I with you.” Writers that I respect deeply have written about death from an atheistic viewpoint (Roger Ebert most recently). Some of them have said that they are quite content to die and know that there will be nothing after, no eternal time with loved ones or friends. I certainly don’t believe in a duplicate copy of being (just with wings! like RedBull!) as the shape of heaven… that seems sad to me, certainly, but also besides the point. The real salvation moment for me—the real hope—is not the moment after death, but rather the moment of death, the instant (or forever time) between living and dying. In that time, it will be profoundly important for me to be informed by a faith and assurance that I am not alone. In that time we find out a lot of who we are and who we have been, and still we find we are not alone.