“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” (Corinthians 15:51)
Most of us like mysteries, which accounts for the popularity of detective stories in book form or on TV and in movies. St. Paul wrote that he was telling us a mystery. This is not a mystery which we or even Sherlock Holmes could figure out. Mystery in the biblical sense is a truth which man could not discover, but one which God has revealed. And that is what God was doing through the pen of St. Paul.
This mystery has to do with God's plans for the future. Plans which only He could reveal of things that are beyond our comprehension or even our imagination.
The mystery is that a change is coming for the Christian. Not all of us will sleep, i.e., die, but all will be changed – glorified. “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For the corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (I Corinthians 15: 52, 53) Christians who have died will be raised from the dead and along with those still living we shall be given immortality. This immortality will consist in having glorified bodies like that of Jesus Christ following His resurrection.
This transformation will happen quickly. “…in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” (I Corinthians 15:52) The change will be instantaneous – at the speed of light. It will occur at the blowing of the “last trumpet.” The trumpet here refers to a war trumpet. The last trumpet sounded was the one indicating that the battle was over and the victory won.
Death is a ancient enemy of humanity. We do all we can not to think about death. We dress dead bodies in nice cloths and apply makeup so they look natural and alive. Certainly none of us would wish to go to a wake or funeral where the dead person really looked dead.
Suddenly, St. Paul burst into triumphant promise quoting the prophets Isaiah and Hosea saying, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” and “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (I Corinthians 15:54, 55) Death is pictured as a scorpion which has had its stinger and its venom removed.
We might ask, what is the sting of death? St. Paul answers, “The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law.” (I Corinthians 15:56) Death is a curse that has afflicted the human race since Adam. We are guilty before God because of our sin and this results in death both physical and spiritual.
So why was St. Paul rejoicing? Because Christ has defeated sin and death. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:57) Jesus Christ the Son of God experienced death, but He was not its helpless victim. Christ paid for our sin in His death on the cross and He defeated death itself three days later in His resurrection.
How might a person have the joy and hope of eternal life? It is ours as we are united to Christ through faith in Him. “For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” (Romans 6:5) So as believers in Christ we rejoice as we look forward to that day when “we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”
by Rev.F. M. Levi
Sara Hassert and Lisa Sellers were received into membership on Sunday, December 26, 2004. We welcome you into the fellowship of St. Andrew's.
The soup suppers and services continue on Wednesdays during Lent. The suppers are in the parish hall at 6:30 p.m. The worship service is in the chapel at 7:30 p.m. There will be no gathering on Wednesday of Holy Week.
Annual Parish Meeting
Sunday, March 6, 2005, following Morning Worship. The meeting will be preceded by a luncheon provided by the Vestry. All heads of departments, treasurers and committee chairmen should be prepared to give reports.
Good Friday Service
In the chapel at 7:30 p.m. on March 25th.
9:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall.
March 27, 2005. The service of Holy Communion begins at 10:30 a.m. We hope that all of you will be with us as we celebrate our Lord's RESURRECTION!
Missionary of The Month
Bishop & Mrs. Oommen Samuel. Superintendent, Treasurer, Pastor, Bible Teacher. Reformed Episcopal Mission, Lalitpur, India.
Sunday, April, 10, 2005 during coffee hour after morning worship.
Mar. 1 – Dale Muir
Mar. 3 – Holly Ardizzone
Mar. 5 – Ian Christenson
Mar. 9 – Allison Klingen
Mar. 12 – Amy Christenson
Mar. 26 – William Burdette
Mar. 26 – Barbara Smith
“After The Winter …
God Sends The Spring”
Easter is a season
Of Hope and Joy and Cheer,
There's beauty all around us
To see and touch and hear…
So, no matter how downhearted
And discouraged we may be,
New Hope is born when we behold
Leaves budding on a tree…
Or when we see a timid flower
Push through the frozen sod
And open wide in glad surprise
Its petaled eyes to God…
For this is just God saying –
“Lift up your eyes to Me,
And the bleakness of your spirit,
Like the budding springtime tree,
Will lose its wintery darkness
And your heavy heart will sing:”-
For God never sends The Winter
Without the Joy Of Spring.
by Helen Steiner Rice