Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
I do not invest a lot of time wondering what happens after death. My pat answer, when asked about my ideas about life after death, is to say that I believe I will be with God and that is all I need to know. I do strongly believe that my emphasis must be on how I can make a difference now and eternity will take care of itself. As a part of the Body of Christ, I am already with God. I do not see eternity as a reward of some kind so much as a continuation of a long-held relationship under different circumstance. The building of that relationship every day is key. I love the hymn Are Ye Able that describes this growth with God.
“Are ye able,” said the Master,
“to be crucified with me?”
“Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered,
“to the death we follow thee.”
Lord, we are able. Our spirits are thine.
Remold them, make us, like thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
a beacon to God, to love, and lo*
Prayer: Lord, grow us as people who catch your dream and strive to make it real for all your children so that one day your Kingdom comes and your will is done. Amen.
*First verse and chorus of Are Ye Able word by Earl Marlett see at http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh530.sht