"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother
would not have died."
If you have ever stood at the grave side of a
loved one, this
thought probably crossed your mind, too -- if you had only been
here, Lord! Where is Jesus when we hurt? Why couldn't he be here to
help us? There are a couple of crucial answers to remember. First,
Jesus is with us in our moments of loss and grief. The Church is
Jesus' Body and every act of kindness, support, comfort, and help
is Jesus working to alleviate our grief. Second, while he may not
have kept our loved one from passing from this life to the next, he
has been the abiding and unbroken presence for each Christian who
has died physically. Paul reminds us that when a Christian dies, he
or she goes to be with Christ (2
Cor. 5:6-7; Phil. 1:21-23)
God's loving presence is never lost to him or her (Rom. 8:35-39)
Holy Father, please help me see Jesus' ministering
my times of loss and grief. Help me see him in the comforting
presence of the Holy Spirit who abides in me. Help me see him in
the acts of love and kindness your people do to help me. In
addition, dear Father, please help me see ways that I can serve as
Jesus' presence to someone else who is experiencing grief. In
Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
"Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"
In the verse above (21), we emphasized that
Christians who died
physically were never really separated from their relationship with
God's loving presence. In this verse (26), Jesus challenges us to
very similar thing: Do we believe that the real, living part of each of
us made by God will never die even though our physical bodies die?
It's an incredible thought, isn't it? We are eternal, immortal,
joined with Jesus, and his future is joined with us
(see Colossians 3:1-4).
Almighty God, I do believe that because of Jesus,
I will never die.
Please bless me, dear Father, so that I can make every minute
count while I am here in this life. At the same time, dear God, I
do look forward to seeing you face to face. In Jesus' name I pray.
Our Mortal Bodies: Seeds
for the Resurrection
mortal bodies, flesh and bones, will return to the earth.
As the writer
of Ecclesiastes says: "Everything goes to the same place,
comes from the dust, everything returns to the dust"
Still, all that we have lived in our bodies will be honored in
when we receive new bodies from God.
sorts of bodies will we have in the resurrection?
Paul sees our mortal
bodies as the seeds for our resurrected bodies:
"What you sow must die
before it is given new life; and what you sow is not the body
to be, but only a bare grain, of wheat I dare say, or some other kind;
it is God who gives it the sort of body that he has chosen for it,
for each kind of seed its own kind of body"
(1 Corinthians 15:36-38).
will be as unique in the resurrection as we are in our mortal bodies,
because God, who loves each of us in our individuality,
will give us
bodies in which our most unique relationship with God will gloriously
Our Lives, Sowing Times
short lives on earth are sowing time.
If there were no resurrection of
the dead, everything we live on earth would come to nothing.
How can we
believe in a God who loves us unconditionally if all the joys and pains
of our lives
are in vain, vanishing in the earth with our mortal flesh
Because God loves us unconditionally, from eternity to
eternity, God cannot allow our bodies
- the same as that in which
Jesus, his Son and our Saviour, appeared to us -
to be lost in final
No, life on earth is the time when the seeds of the
risen body are planted.
Paul says: "What is sown is perishable, but
what is raised is imperishable;
what is sown is contemptible but what
is raised is glorious;
what is sown is weak, but what is raised is
what is sown is a natural body, and what is raised is a
(1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
This wonderful knowledge that
nothing we live in our bodies is lived in vain
holds a call for us to
live every moment as a seed of eternity.
the resurrection we will have spiritual bodies.
Our natural bodies came
from Adam, our spiritual bodies come from Christ,
Christ is the second
Adam, offering us new bodies not subject to destruction.
As Paul says:
"as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man [Adam],
so we shall
bear the likeness of the heavenly one [Christ]"
(1 Corinthians 15:49).
spiritual bodies are Christ-like bodies.
Jesus came to share with us
the life in our mortal bodies
so that we would also be able to share in
his spiritual body.
"Mere human nature," Paul says, "cannot inherit the
kingdom of God"
(1 Corinthians 15:50).
Jesus came to dress our
perishable nature with imperishability
and our mortal nature with
immortality (see 1
Thus it is in the body that our
spiritual life finds its fullest manifestation.
Henri NouwenRestored to Eternal Life
One thing we know for sure about our God:
Our God is a God of the living, not of the dead. God is life.
God is love. God is beauty. God is goodness. God is truth.
God doesn't want us to die. God wants us to live.
Our God, who loves us from eternity to eternity, wants to give us life for eternity.
When that life was interrupted by our unwillingness to give our full yes to God's love,
God sent Jesus to be with us
and to say that great yes in our name and thus restore us to eternal life.
So let's not be afraid of death.
There is no cruel boss, vengeful enemy, or cruel tyrant waiting to destroy us -
only a loving, always forgiving God, eager to welcome us home.Henri Nouwen
is not a threat to genuine life.
It is but a paper tiger that is
no longer free to terrorize us once we know
the truth about the outcome
of the cross.
Death is but a temporary inconvenience that
separates our smaller living from our greater being.
for more on grief
Verses Reflections 11