Friday, June 24, 2011

Resurrection

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). The inscription shows up in old graveyards, including on the fictional tombstone of Harry Potter’s parents. The author of the series, J.K. Rowling, lost and grieved her mother while the first book was written and declares that dealing with death is one of the themes of the books. The Bohanan family is eagerly awaiting the final film in the cycle.

With the grief we have recently experienced in the Bethany family, I have returned over and over to the Bible and the biblical theology of resurrection. (This is the theme of Dave Snyder’s Sunday School course Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.) Resurrection is promise for the human BODY. Death is not destroyed by some ghostly after-life. Death can only be defeated if dead bodies are resurrected – indestructible – to new life. And, not in some zombie-like state but in glory and beauty.
So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
As imaginative as popular culture can be about immortality and life-after-death (see, for example, Ghost or Interview with a Vampire), it struggles to hold a candle to the biblical promise, to the stranger-than-fiction truth of resurrection. We may appreciate the romance or suspense of a good film or book (I certainly do), but the greatest story ever told, and the truest, is Easter – Jesus resurrected, the “firstborn of the dead” (Colossians 1:18, Revelation 1:5) and the “firstborn of a large family” (you and me! Romans 8:29).
The first man [Adam] was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man [Jesus] is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47-48).
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen indeed!
Alleluia!

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