Victorious over death itself

Posted Feb 8, 2019

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Daily Scripture

1 Corinthians 15:51-58

51 Listen, I’m telling you a secret: All of us won’t die, but we will all be changed— 52 in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet. The trumpet will blast, and the dead will be raised with bodies that won’t decay, and we will be changed. 53 It’s necessary for this rotting body to be clothed with what can’t decay, and for the body that is dying to be clothed in what can’t die. 54 And when the rotting body has been clothed in what can’t decay, and the dying body has been clothed in what can’t die, then this statement in scripture will happen:

Death has been swallowed up by a victory. [Isaiah 25:8]
55    Where is your victory, Death?
        Where is your sting, Death? [Hosea 13:14]

(56 Death’s sting is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.) 57 Thanks be to God, who gives us this victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 58 As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord.

Reflection Questions

This passage is often read at memorial services and funerals, times when people are longing for hope, understanding and confidence that life after death is a reality. Paul didn’t provide details. Instead, he painted a faith-filled picture of God changing humanity’s fundamental way of being in the world from dying—even our bodies—into a quality of life that can’t die. Paul was sure death has no ultimate victory or sting when we trust in the grace of Jesus Christ.

  • Paul quoted the prophet Hosea to deny that death “wins” even when it touches us: “Where is your victory, Death?” (cf. Hosea 13:14) For Christ-followers, death is not a defeat, but a transition into a different part of our victorious walk with Jesus. Does the very idea of death cause you fear and anxiety? How does this passage speak to you in times of distress, doubt and grief? How do you understand what Paul was trying to convey to the followers of Jesus in Corinth (and, through them, to you)?
  • Legendary NFL coach Tony Dungy said, “The best leaders are following Christ. That's the best leader you can follow.”* When did you first begin to follow Christ? What has helped you grow your commitment to following Christ into a firm, unshakable life foundation that keeps you working for Christ’s glory to be fulfilled in this world and beyond?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, keep changing me through my relationship with you, in this life and in the life to come. I look forward to being with you eternally. Amen.


* Quote found at: https://www.brainyquote.com/search_results?q=tony+dungy

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Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 7th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group and a men’s group, and serves on the curriculum team.

While doing some online research for today’s powerful claim, “Death, where is thy sting?” I came across the Biblical passages in 1 Corinthians, Hosea, as well as the moving section in the 3rd part of Handel’s Messiah.  There were also several pop-up ads, including one for the Association of Morticians of America’s weekly newsletter, “Ashes to Ashes.”  Here are some “excerpts:”

Technology Corner:

From our fellow member, Slumber, Inc.: We have been exploring the idea of incorporating technology in the midst of our funeral presentation, such as having the deceased holding a smart phone as if they were texting or scrolling social media sites.  We have received lots of compliments like, “She looks so natural” & “That’s exactly how I remember him.”  Pro-Tip: Be sure to cancel the subscription plan before…[Continued on page 2]

Debate: Grim Reaper vs. Grin Reaper

Join us online for another rousing debate between Rick O’Mortis & Barry M. Deepe as they discuss the traditional mortician attire (dark suit/dress) vs. the 1970-era “Smiley Face” buttons.  We expect a big crowd after last week’s lively debate on the appropriateness of a bar room jazz pianist’s last request to have a tip-jar by his coffin.  (We all shared our 2 cents.)  [Webex Details on Page 4]

Editorial: Death, Where is Thy Sting?

Funerals are always a sorrowful affair.  However, through the years I’ve concluded that Christian funerals are fascinating services to experience.  While there is certainly great grieving, there is also a very perceptible aura of peace.  The service does not feel like some final farewell to a loved one; rather, it is like a temporary parting – until we meet again. 

This sense of hope in the face of death is a relatively recent & very rare phenomenon in human history.  For centuries, nearly every culture has been terrified of death & has wrestled with the bleak implications of its final consequences.  But Christians, thanks to Jesus’ death & resurrection, have an almost miraculous view of death that borders on the unbelievable.  They consider it as just another chapter of their life story – not some permanent conclusion but a segue to the next adventure - an adventure where their bodies & minds are once again whole, an adventure where pain is replaced by peace, an adventure where tears are replaced by laughter.

However, despite this sense of peace in the face of their mortality, Christians also want to live their lives for the glory of God as long as their earthly bodies will permit.  As an elderly friend noted, “Every morning when I get up & my feet hit the floor, I want the devil to cry in despair, “Uh oh.  She’s up!”  

As we demonstrate care & compassion to our clients during their very difficult times, may we all learn to face death with the hope & confidence of our Christian peers & view our services as truly celebrations of life.

"Caption this Comic” Winning Entry for the week of February 4:

Mrs. Dumpty, considering the circumstances, may I suggest a closed carton for the late Mr. Humpty?

Club News: Chicago Club Fieldtrip to Hamilton Musical Postponed

Sadly, due to last week’s polar vortex, the performance of the Musical, “Hamilton,” was cancelled.  (We guess you could say, “Brrrr killed Hamilton again.”)  Fortunately, we still had a wonderful presentation of noted dueling expert, Dr. Flint Locke & his prized collection of dueling artifacts – everything from single-shot pistols to banjos.

For readers puzzled by the last reference, we offer this link for context - Editor: Dueling Banjos-Glen Campbell & Carl Jackson

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