Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Christ Arose"1 (Lyrics)
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 – Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (NIV 2011)
The heavy weight of the immense snows that we have had this winter has brought destruction upon many of the region's trees: limbs have been snapped off, huge trees have been felled. Others have been bent so low by their icy burden that they, too, will die, as they will never again be able to straighten up.
We have also lost members of our community to the icy grip of death. The world has experienced millions of deaths through the pandemic. Death has brought sadness with it — a sadness which I found difficult to shake, until the church was allowed to hold a small funeral — for one at least — of those who have passed.
I was fortunate enough to be among the little group allowed to attend. As I sat there and listened to the funeral service and heard the Scriptures being read, the depth of my sadness was strangely lifted. My heart was at peace. The power and truth of God's Word preached among the gathering of God's people, though we were few, raised my bowed spirit. I was reminded anew that though our trees of life — these frail human bodies — become bowed down and snapped off with age and illness or accident, and though they die, yet, Jesus says, "whoever lives by believing in me will never die." (John 11:26a NIV 2011)
What absolutely marvellous and incredible words! These are words of truth on which we can count. History proves that it has happened before, in the person of Jesus Christ, Who lived and died and rose again, that all mankind might come to believe in Him and receive eternal life.
Let none of us who know our Lord despair when death comes to call upon this greater world that we dwell within, or upon the smaller realm of our everyday lives, for God is not dead. No, He is alive — and so shall we live on through our faith in Christ. This is truly something to celebrate amidst the darkness of mortal death. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Prayer: Father God, we praise You and thank You for the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Remind us anew through Your Word and through Your gift of one another who love Him, that we grieve not like the rest, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that You will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.