Memorial Day began shortly after the Civil War as a time to honor those who had given their lives in the service of their country. Over the years many have added a recognition of all loved ones who have contributed to the welfare of our living. As Christians it is not a day of doom and despair. We believe in the promise of eternal life. Here are some passages in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians about that.
O God, who holds all life in the palms of caring, faithful hands: we thank you for those who have blessed us with their vision and compassion. Help us to so live that we may be a blessing to the generations that follow us. Amen.
Monday – 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Paul feels unworthy to be called an apostle, because he once persecuted the church. But Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus Road and called him to be a witness. To what does Paul witness in verses 3-8? Does this sound like a metaphorical symbol? Or does Paul really believe Jesus was raised from the dead? What do you believe?
Tuesday – 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
This is one of Paul’s most compelling arguments for our faith. He believed in Jesus’ resurrection because he encountered Jesus on the Damascus Road. But if we do not believe Jesus was raised from the dead, what does Paul say about our faith? If we do not believe, what does Paul say should happen to us? Do you believe?
Wednesday – 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
But Paul believed firmly – despite his training that was antagonistic towards Christians, despite his deep scholarship into the Pharisee world, despite his upbringing as a Roman – in the resurrection of Jesus. Because of that, what last enemy is destroyed? And if that last enemy is no longer something to fear, how does that change your life? Your day today?
Thursday – 1 Corinthians 15:29-34
We do not generally baptize people on behalf of the dead, but Paul makes a distinct point. If we do not believe in life after death and only lived for the hope we can muster for this life; what is the end result? What is the alternative to hope? Hopelessness leads to futility, and perhaps some of the senseless violence we see in our world today reveals that. Eh?
Friday – 1 Corinthians 15:35-49
Ummm! Now what kind of body we will have in eternity is a question I cannot answer. I was hoping for a thinner waste and thicker hair. But God is not limited to our imaginations. While what God created the first time around, God called it good; I suspect God can envision far beyond what I can see. I only know that it will be in the image of Christ and that will be good! Do you experience any disabilities? Do you endure any diseases? Are you wrestling with any health challenges? I believe God’s best healing comes through death in the life to come. How can that give us hope?
Saturday – 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Finally, we get to the capstone of Paul’s message. How does God use death? What is on the other side of death? Who gives us the victory over death? So how does that guide our steps and encourage our faithfulness in our journey through life? The fruit of the disciple’s service may not be readily apparent to each of us, but it is never wasted in God’s economy.