I believe in… the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting Monday, May 29, 2017
Think About: Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who have died in service to our country. Many of us also remember our friends and family who have gone before us. As Christians, we stand firm in our belief that life is everlasting through Christ our Lord who defeated death and sits at the right hand of God. Our faith gives us strength for the tomorrows we face without our cherished loved ones until we see them again. Memorial Day is a sacred time of remembrance.
Former NBC News President Michael Gartner told a story about Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert after Russert passed away in 2008. In a story published by USA Today, Gartner recalled a conversation with Russert when Gartner’s 17-year-old son Christopher tragically died from an acute attack of juvenile diabetes. Christopher idolized Tim Russert. They were very close. Within hours of Christopher’s death, Gartner said Russert called him. Imagine experiencing almost unbearable grief over a child’s death, Gartner shared some of their conversation. Russert said, “Look, if God had come to you 17 years ago and said, I’ll make you a bargain. I’ll give you a beautiful, wonderful, happy and healthy kid for 17 years, and then I’ll take him away, you would have made that deal in a second.” Gartner said that Russet was right. Of course he just didn’t know his son would pass away so young. Whether young or old, death comes into life, sometimes with or without warning or time to prepare. God promises us comfort and healing in our grieving.
Jesus told Martha that her brother Lazarus would live again, also saying to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die, (John 11:25, CEB).
I am thankful for the words in the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”
Pray this prayer: Holy God, as I remember service men and women and family and friends who have died, I take comfort in my Savior’s words that give everlasting life. I pray that you comfort those who grieve not only today, but also every day. Amen.
I believe in… the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Think About: Out of the ashes of Lent, we awakened to the risen Christ Easter morning. The promise of resurrection belongs to us. Imagine Jesus calling your name like he called Lazarus to come out of the tomb, from darkness into his light. Each time we offer someone a helping hand, we take part in the continuing resurrection story. “The Creed ends where Easter begins with the resurrection and the promise of life everlasting,” writes Adam Hamilton in Creed.
In the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), the owner hires people to work for him. The first workers hired agree to receive the standard day’s wage. The owner continued to return to the marketplace to hire more and more workers. The owner agreed to pay the new workers “whatever is right.” It was customary for day laborers to receive their pay before sunset. “Pay them their salary the same day, before the sun sets, because they are poor, and their very life depends on that pay, and so they don’t cry out against you to the Lord. That would make you guilty,” (Deuteronomy 24:15, CEB). At the end of the day, the owner instructed the manager to call the last workers first to give them their wages, then to finish with those who had been hired first. Those hired first thought they would receive more pay since they had worked longer than the other workers but everyone received the same wage. “So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last,” (Matthew 20:16, CEB).
I think about how my life, right now and my eternal life depends upon Jesus who forgives my sins. It doesn’t matter when I “signed up” or when I die, I will receive the same everlasting life as everyone else from my generous God who is full of grace and mercy. “A person’s steps are made secure by the Lord when they delight in his way. Though they trip up, they won’t be thrown down, because the Lord holds their hand,” (Psalm 37:23-24, CEB).
For me, the words from the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe… in the resurrection of the body and life ever lasting,” are as true today as the day the words were written. I want to delight in ways to bring God’s kingdom closer to someone who doesn’t know my Lord and Savior.
Pray this prayer: Holy God, my life depends on you, in the present moment and in eternity. Show me simple ways to bring the good news of your kingdom and resurrection power to the lives of others this day. Amen.
I believe in… the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting Friday, June 2, 2017
Read: I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5, CEB)
Think About: At a memorial service for a friend’s mother, I noticed cardinal birds in a large flower arrangement. Her mother loved cardinals often wearing a pin with cardinals or blouse decorated with her favorite bird. Her granddaughter’s young foster children sang a song in her memory at the service. Wearing brightly colored dresses with bows in their hair, they sang a song of resurrection while the pastor listened intently to the joyful song they sang. These very young girls attended church with their foster great-grandma every Sunday. Their love for her was evident, a love modeled week after week also by her granddaughter and her daughter. Tears will still flow as they grieve for one now absent from their lives. There will be emptiness at future family gatherings. God was with us that Saturday as we said goodbye to one of his saints and he is with us during our grief. God will be with us when we experience emptiness from loss. I thank Jesus for the gift of eternal life, knowing one day I will see my friend’s mother again. I am thankful for her inspiring Christian witness to people she met.
“I believe in… the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”
A new heaven and new earth awaits us where the former things will have passed away. Death will be no more. Expect to live with laughter, no more tears; pain will be wiped away, grieving and crying will be gone. Hallelujah! How great is our God, full of grace and mercy. Nothing in life or death will separate us from his love and care. He is with us now, if we only open our eyes to see.
Pray this prayer: Holy God, I praise you for the gift of friendship that end sometimes too soon, for children and cardinals and for comforting us in our grief until we see the new heaven and new earth. Amen.