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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Christ's Body

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[April 06, 2011]   --"Listen, 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."

We all like to know secrets, and one of the Church's best kept secrets is that these bodies of ours aren't going away.  Instead, they will be changed.  And change is an important thing to consider.  The theology of the afterlife has become convoluted and somewhat un-biblical, but this very Biblical notion, that we will have eternal bodies, and that our mortal bodies will be transformed, is significant for several reasons.  First, the preservation and resurrection of the body reminds us that, even in this life, we are closely connected to God through our bodies.  Our bodies are a part of  God's good creation, and Genesis tells us that we were created in God's image.  Further, as Paul sets out to seal the Church's identity, we are called Christ's body.  Christianity is not just a practice of the mind, but it involved very real and very physical fidelity.  Our bodies keep us connected to God as we remember that they are of God's design, and used to do God's work and enjoy the life we have been given.

But they will be changed, and this is also important.  As we live in the light of Christian hope, we understand that things are not as they should be, and while these bodies connect us to God, they also separate us from God.  As Paul goes to pains to point out in Corinthians and elsewhere, these bodies are imperfect and flawed.  But the ones we receive will be perfect and flawless.  The new body, which will be given to us, will connect us to God in a powerful new way, because it will be draped in immortality, and it will no longer burden us.  Instead, it shall empower us. 

I realize these are somewhat heady concepts, but the purpose of this sermon series, and this e-votional, is to broaden our understanding of who we are in relation to God.  And who we are is a people who are a body, and who will be a physical body, united in the love of Jesus Christ. So do not take this body of yours lightly, but know that it too is part of God's eternal plan.

Prayer:  Holy God, we thank you for the gift of our bodies. Help us to care for them as your good creation, but also instill within us the hope in Jesus Christ that our bodies will be transformed and take on immortality.  We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

 [Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]


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