Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
On this Memorial Day, I want to pause to reflect on what happens to us–the essence of our being–when we die. That might seem morbid, but I think the Bible gives us a beautiful portrayal of what we transition to when we “shuffle off [our] mortal coil,” as Shakespeare expressed it.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:36-43, asks about that transition and answers his own question this way:
“But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (NIV).
When I recently read this passage, I paused to think about the analogy of a seed that Paul uses. What if, I speculated, our physical bodies are like seeds, which are sown when we die, and when we rise from death, that seed has blossomed into our resurrection bodies?
Seeds bear no resemblance to the plant that grows from them. A watermelon seed looks nothing like a watermelon. Jesus mentions the mustard seed and how it grows into a tree. An acorn is of good size, but that’s nothing compared to an oak tree. A sunflower seed is a far cry from the glorious stature and color of a sunflower. And, of course, the transition from physical to spiritual is a transformation that these analogies don’t begin to touch on.
I find it glorious to think that the physical being I am contains within it the seed of whom I will be. Those I love who have gone on before me rest now, but they, too, will burst forth in a rich array of spiritual beauty that contains their essence in a more beautiful expression than we can imagine.
What a glorious day that will be!
As you think about your loved ones today, on this memorial day of remembrance, ponder the splendor and extravagant creativity God will display, recreating us into all he ever had in mind for us to be. Hallelujah!