Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 23: Year 1
“If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1st Corinthians 15:19)
Indeed, it is for life after death that I am hoping in Christ. Except for books and movies, I have no experience or evidence of life before I was born. It is like I was dead before I was alive. It was Mark Twain who said, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
While I don’t think I fear death, I am very curious about it. What is it like to not have to breathe, or eat, or any of the human functions we have depended on for all of our mortal lives? Or, will some of these creature customs continue in the afterlife? I don’t know.
What I do know is that whatever level of existence God will let me have, I want it. This is why I am a Christian. As Paul says, being a Christian is not about this life, it is about our resurrection in Christ Jesus. This is our hope. This is why we pray in the Name of our Lord Jesus. This is why we believe the way we do.
Personally, I don’t believe that God has set a date for us to die (as many Christians do), but I do believe that God, in Christ Jesus, is always waiting for us when we do. While death is untimely, death is not ungodly. God is present in this world and the next.
There are many human beliefs about our relationship with God. Christianity is just one and there are many versions of it. As our Presiding Bishop says, “We are on the Episcopal path of the Jesus movement.” And, Paul again, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” To this I will add, that our Lord Jesus did teach us how to live in love of neighbor while we walk this earth. And so, I will leave what happens to me after my death in His most capable and loving hands. Thank You Lord Jesus.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John