A few years ago my parents wanted to talk with me and my sister about their eventual death. I had anticipated a sad conversation, but my dad brought a great deal of levity and some perspective as he and my mom had been discussing cremation. I was rather surprised to realize that somewhere along the way I had believed cremation was a sin. My dad shared with us an article laying out options for the ashes, including having one’s ashes made into pencils, buried with a tree seedling, or used to make diamonds.
As Christians we must never forget resurrection. It is not merely symbolic. Nor is it simply about individuals guaranteeing their way into heaven. Paul is not saying the physical body doesn’t matter or that an individual’s “arrival” in heaven is the only goal. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth, a body of believers, embodied souls whose work in the flesh mattered and matters. Embodiment reminds us to consider not only a spiritual resurrection but also how that transformation affects the body of Christ, the church.
My dad joked that his ashes should be split between me and my sister so that we could each have a part of him remain in our lives. My mom joked about having two diamonds made so that we could wear her near our hearts. My husband learned his ashes could be pressed into a vinyl record; I opted either to become pencils or to be buried with a tree. Regardless of what actually happens, we have peace knowing that what matters is not what happens to our physical bodies at death but how we have lived to reflect the transformative power of the Spirit of God. That is what it means to become the body of Christ.
O God, grant us wisdom and joy to live out our spiritual realities in our physical lives. Amen.
Joseph had experienced betrayal by his brothers and then had been sold into slavery. At the time, he no doubt felt abandoned by God. However, after God raises up Joseph in Egypt, Joseph is able to provide for his family in a time of drought. Although others have acted with evil intentions, God uses those actions for good. The psalmist offers a similar encouragement. We struggle in the real challenges that face us, but we believe in a God who can carry us through them. In First Corinthians, Paul explains that God carries us even through death to resurrection glory on the other side. Jesus teaches us to respond to evil with mercy. Because we believe in a God who will ultimately bring justice, we do not need to serve as judge and executioner.
Read Genesis 45:3-11, 15. How would considering your children’s children to seven generations change the way you make decisions?
Read Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40. What is your relationship to the land where you live now and the land where you lived as you grew up?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50. How do you live out the characteristics of God’s imperishable realm?
Read Luke 6:27-38. How do you respond to Jesus’ call to love your enemies? How does your community of faith follow this gospel requirement?
Responda publicando una oración.