Advent: December 15

1 Co 15:50-56

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed –in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’

‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

Paul lays it on the line. None of us is going to be part of the kingdom of God through any effort on our part, for we are perishable by nature. Our inheritance, the kingdom of God, is ours in eternity as we take on a new body, leaving our mortal remains behind.

The image of the dead rising sounds like the stuff of horror films, but I’m not sure that we will see grave stones shifting or the sight of skeletons or decayed bodies scrambling out of damp earth. As Job said,

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Job 19:25-26 (Authorised Version)

We should look to the pattern of Jesus’ resurrection, even though he was not buried under the earth. A stone was moved back and a new man rose from death. He was like Jesus, but he was not the physical body that died. He was changed. This was a new incorruptible, imperishable body in which the person we know as Jesus was clothed.

How do you imagine yourself being changed?

Where is your soul when you are buried or have become cremation dust?

Is there a waiting time between death and resurrection?

Father God, I cannot begin to imagine what it means for my mortality to be clothed with immortality, but I live by faith in the promise that death will be defeated, and that I will inherit eternity in your kingdom. Thank you, Father. Amen.

It has to be Handel

I love this interpretation, up to a point.