I was over at our church building this afternoon, getting ready for a funeral tomorrow. In our liturgy this kind of service is known more properly as a "Christian Service of Witness to the Resurrection." In practice with my congregation we don't use that language, not because it isn’t right or good, but because at a funeral I am the only one holding anything more than the card from the funeral home in their hands. Those words, Witness to the Resurrection, should have prepared me for what was going to happen today.
I was going through the service, from beginning to end, aloud and with the sound system turned on. And I got to the Apostles Creed. The words of the Creed are:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy, catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
I was aware that as I was reading the last paragraph I was reading more slowly. And as my mouth said "the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting" my brain was saying "Wow!" It was a breathtaking moment.
We have all had those moments that we call breathtaking. They are beautiful and powerful. They usually catch us a bit by surprise. Sometimes we know that something good is coming, and yet when it does come we find ourselves amazed.
Some of the places we find those moments are in sunsets; the first glimpse of a newborn baby; the kiss when the minister declares a couple to be man and wife.
Today, preparing for a funeral tomorrow, I was reminded what all the breathtaking moments of our lives are intended to point towards. They point to the most breathtaking moment possible, the one when Christians will pass from this life into the next. When Christians will experience the resurrection of the body and life everlasting, life everlasting in the presence of Jesus Christ, their Savior and Lord.
It will be a beauty that we can barely imagine on this side of heaven, and yet the sure promise to all who believe.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.