The balance that religion can give, if we’re doing our job, is to remind this culture of what we frantically deny: limits, diminishment, and death. The authentic prophetic voice is not a voice of doom, but a voice of truth. Any memento mori is prophetic because it is true.
Those of us following Jesus will speak a further truth: that death is not the end. However, the good news of Easter is gibberish if we can’t even acknowledge the preceding Friday. A robust Christianity is unflinchingly realistic about death. There is no abundant life in worshiping perpetual youth; nothing truthful in avoiding the transformations from which none are exempt.
A robust Christianity also understands the cost of a hope worthy of our trust. A trustworthy hope cannot be hope in our own powers, because our own powers will fail; by faith, we trust a God whom we cannot see, and the cost of such trust is giving up the comfortable illusion of control.
None of this is easy. Every day, though, we get another crack at it.