Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Believe in the Resurrection

The Apostles’ Creed comes to a resounding conclusion with the last phrase: I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. With this, everything is resolved. Everything comes to its full fruition.

Everybody seems to believe in eternal life. Even the most pagan among us tends to profess some vague feeling that life has an eternal quality. Most believe that they are going to heaven say the statistics.

Some of that comes from those who look at the church and those of us in it. They see how human and sinful we are and say: “If they’re going to heaven, so am I.” As if somehow we are in church to show how good we are, instead of being in church to meet the resources that God gives us.

First, we believe in life. Christians believe in life. Every life born into this world is important. All life is a gift of God. When God made the world and all that’s in it, he made human beings and then he said: “It is very good.”

Jesus says that he has come to give us life in all of its abundance. As Christians with faith, we don’t just survive, we thrive. Every minute of every hour, every hour of every day, every day of every year is a good and gracious gift of God.

In an old Charlie Brown cartoon, Linus says to Charlie Brown: “Do you ever feel that life has passed you by?” Charlie says: “Sometimes I feel that life and I are going in different directions.” Life is beautiful and wonderful and a free gift of God.

We also believe in the resurrection of the body. In John’s Gospel when Jesus appears to his disciples he goes through locked doors to get to them. But, he is not a ghost, he is recognizable in his body. In this body, they can see and touch his wounds.

Paul says in 1 Thessalonians that when Jesus comes back to earth the dead in Christ will rise first, then all others. Some asked what about those who are still alive when Jesus comes. Paul says: “We will all be changed, in the twinkling of an eye…”

You see we are not disembodied spirits, unlike what we hear about in our culture. Our bodies are our souls. We are our bodies and souls. So, when we die and rise, we will have spiritual bodies but bodies nonetheless. We will be recognizable as the persons we are. Our personhood will remain intact and we will know each other in heave. We will know our mothers and fathers…and…

In Jesus Christ, God came in flesh to save us. And, all who believe in him and accept the way of Jesus to God will be saved. Heaven means to be in God’s presence. Hell means to be separated from God and others forever- eternal separation.

God loves us too much to force us to accept him or his love. God loves us so much that he wants to leave it to us to decide to believe or not.

Karl Barth says that you can’t believe in the resurrection without going around with a smile of your face.

Do you believe? Then, smile.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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