Befriending Death: We will be changed
What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Look, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” ~ I Corinthians 15:50-55
There is a lot to unpack in these few verses...
Or maybe there isn't.
Maybe we aren't meant to unpack it so much as to hope in it.
I think sometimes we want a clear answer as to what it will be like when we die. We can get twisted around in knots trying to understand what putting on imperishability means.
But there are two things that jump out at me in this passage that I think are worth holding onto.
First, it is a mystery. For all of Paul's attempts at explanation, the truth is that we cannot at this time understand what it will be like when we die. We cannot fully grasp what it means to be immortal.
And the second thing - and here's the good news - God knows. And the promise God makes is that death doesn't win.
Death doesn't have the last word.
What we will look like...what our bodies will be...well, only God knows that.
But whatever it is, our trust is that we will fully, completely be with God.
- What is the image you have of life after death?
- Has that image changed at all during your life?
Holy One, lead me, push me, pull me, prompt me along this journey of faith. Keep my footsteps sure and my eyes fixed on the places you would send me. Amen