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Epistle: Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.   20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.

A woman went to the local newspaper to place an obituary in the paper for her recently deceased husband. The obituary editor informed her that the fee for obituaries is 50 cents per word. She pauses, reflects and says, “Well, then, let it read, ‘Fred Brown died.’”

Amused at the woman’s thrift, the editor tells her that there is a seven-word minimum for all obituaries. Only a little flustered, she thinks things over, and in a few seconds says, “In that case, let it read, ‘Fred Brown died. 1963 Chevy for sale.’”

In my 30 plus years of ministry, there have been periods of a few weeks when one funeral would come after another. In my first call, we had three parishioners die on the same day (two of them I had visited that day - I was known for a while as the pastor of death). That same year, we had 7 funerals in 22 days. I wondered if we were on speed dial at the funeral home, and I was sure that I was considered part of the staff there. Now I don’t mean to make light of funerals and death, but the reality is that death is a part of life. Death will occur to 100% of this congregation, some day… I guarantee it. But the good news is this. Because of Jesus Christ we have hope. “For God so loved the world he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life!” Life is ours. Forgiveness is ours. Because of Jesus, death is not the final word. Life is victorious. In Jesus we have HOPE.

Every week we confess our faith:

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

The holy catholic church

The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,

The resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Resurrection of the body. Life everlasting.

We will be resurrected on the last day. How does it happen? I don’t know! All I know is that God promises it, and that is good enough for me. For with God all things are possible.

The problem we run in to is that we try to explain the infinite in our finite understanding. Our understanding is limited while God is limitless! DO not try to explain, instead, trust!

Our hope is in Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.

Answers to questions are not completely possible, because we don’t know for sure.

God’s got this.

We won’t be disappointed

Three things:

  1. In sure and certain hope, face the reality of our finitude. Come face to face with death.

  2. In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, give thanks. For all the blessings of today, give thanks. For family and friends, those who serve us by serving our nation in times of war, give thanks. For our all that is good, which is a gift from God, give thanks!

  3. Live today as a gift from God, who is the God of the living. God is the God of life. Rejoice. Know that tomorrow is in God’s hands, through Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to win the battle over sin and death. Our victory through him! Forgive, love, live. Today is a gift!

Let us pray: Almighty God, help us in the midst of things we cannot understand to believe and trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins and the promise of life everlasting. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen

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