Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Few Thoughts on The Resurrection of the Dead

My family back home always got together on Resurrection Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It always included a meal at Grandma and Grandpa Southerland's house in Bloomington, Illinois. My uncle, aunt, and cousins usually came also, filling every nook and cranny with happy voices and sweet family fellowship.

The meal was nearly always the same with a shank-bone ham, baked to perfection, boiled potatoes with green beans, a gelatin salad of some sort, and Grandma's famous lettuce salad dressed with Miracle Whip salad dressing and sliced, boiled eggs retrieved from the egg hunt. Dessert included an iced white cake with canned fruit cocktail or a strawberry shortcake. Tea and coffee rounded out the feast.

These days, with my grandparents gone on to be with the Lord and everyone else scattered thither and yon, we all pretty well keep close to home. This year, we are keeping it simple with just our family and perhaps a single friend from church. Though the egg hunt has been abandoned along with other pagan accouterments, there will no doubt be some deviled eggs and a salad of some sort.

Yet, the awe and wonder of the day itself and the purpose for our celebration are still very much the same for me, if not more so. You see, the passing of my grandparents -- and even the uncle we met with so many years ago -- brings the brevity of life and the inevitability of death very clearly to my consciousness. However, I cannot fathom sometimes the reality of the resurrection. As long as my dear ones are in Christ they will live again, and I will see them again in the flesh.

Have you ever fully captured the awesomeness of that truth? Because He lives, we shall live also.

Listen to this glorious good news!!!

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. -- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

What comforting words, indeed! So, though I miss those precious loved ones of mine, I do not grieve as those who have no hope as long as I believe that Christ Jesus, our Lord, arose from His grave first. The rest of us are sure to follow Him one day.

Oh, glorious thought! Let us come before His presence this Resurrection Sunday with thanksgiving for His longsuffering, His mercy, His grace, and the hope of the resurrection. Amen!