April 27

“And the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive – forever and ever – and I hold the keys of death and of Hades!” Revelation 1:18

Flower! Easter lilies! Speak to me this morning the same dear old lesson of immortality which you have been speaking to so many sorrowing souls.

Wise old Book! let me read again in your pages of firm assurance that to die is gain.

Poets! recite to me your verses which repeat in every line the Gospel of eternal life.

Singers! break forth once more into songs of joy; let me hear again the well-known resurrection psalms.

Tree and blossom and bird and sea and sky and wind whisper it, sound it afresh, warble it, echo it, let it throb and pulsate through every atom and particle; let the air be filled with it.

Let it be told and retold and still retold until hope rises to conviction, and conviction to certitude of knowledge; until we, like Paul, even though going to our death, go with triumphant mien, with assured faith, and with serene and shining face. (Streams in the Desert)

I am not intelligent enough to explain in metaphysical detail what takes place when breath and heartbeat cease, but I am wise enough to admit that I do not know how to explain it. Some say death is the start of a gradual journey toward the ultimate reunion. My thoughts run counter to such linear speculation, for I see heaven as a matter of dimension, not distance. Heaven is not a far-off place—some biblical Land of Oz—and the Father is not, as Bette Midler sang, “in the distance.” Scripture throbs with passionate cadence that God is near, making heaven not a trip, but merely a step—what Marcus Borg calls “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time.” For all that I’m worth, I believe that those who die in the Lord immediately meet Jesus again for the first time; the only waiting for them is for the opportunity to introduce us. (From Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace by Dane Fowlkes)

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