The list is extensive: an astronaut, a first lady, a supreme court justice, a Nobel Laureate, a dictator. Add to those notables a long list of singers, actors, comedians, sports legends, coaches, politicians, authors and journalists. These are the well-known personages claimed by 2016. Each of them was loved by family and friends (people who actually knew them) and so each death is an occasion for genuine sympathy. That said, I have an issue with the public response.
News bytes decrying their loss seem beyond numbering. A few articles, went so far as to imply that 2016 was the worst year of loss the world has ever experienced. I was glad that most of the lists called the deceased what they were … stars, celebrities and entertainers. Some pieces grossly overstated their importance and contribution by lumping the entire list under descriptors like; “Greats” … “Luminaries” and “Legends.” What should it take to earn such verbal epaulets? Should a person be considered “great” for combining aptitude in gyration and extreme narcissism?  Apparently, some would say, “Yes.”
There was a notable silence in this media maelstrom. A group of men and women who this year earned the highest epitaph possible … “The world was not worthy of them.”That audacious word of praise follows a rambling list of unnamed believers in Hebrews Chapter Eleven, who were,
tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated…
Far from interviews, bright lights and red carpets, these people “wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.” I believe the author of Hebrews left this list anonymous and open-ended for a reason. The roll of those who lay down their life because of their faith in Christ has never been static. It will not be closed until Jesus returns. The new inductees into this Hall of Faith received exactly 24 seconds from Fox News when they reported on the estimated 90,000 Christians martyred in 2016. The world was not worthy of them.