As is often the case, the appointed lectionary readings coincide well with the experiences of the faithful. Our Epistle lessons are from I Corinthians 15, where Paul writes of the Resurrection. He is trying to help us understand that there are things about Resurrection that are sure and true, yet there are aspects we will find it difficult to understand.
I attended a funeral yesterday for the father of one of our students. This is the fifth death of parent/grandparent since our return from spring break. In addition, we have had the death of a high school friend. “What is going on?” is the question I was asked yesterday.
At the funeral, the pastor lifted one of the prayer petitions from our funeral liturgy. It reads: “Help us, we pray, in the midst of things we cannot understand, to believe and trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection to life everlasting.”
“Help us, we pray, in the midst of things we cannot understand.” There are things which will remain forever beyond comprehension. There are things for which we may have all the facts, but be unable to see the whole picture. In the midst of these things, we pray, that God will help us.
It is “the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection to life everlasting” which guide us through.
Together, in the communion of the saints, we will find strength to continue. We will find reason to continue to hope.
It is with the assurance of the forgiveness of sins that we will lift the burden off our shoulders in order to stand tall. What is happening is not happening because of an unforgiving master.
And whatever our resurrected body might be like, it will be. It is not for this life only that we have hoped.
“What is going on?” I don’t know. But I do know, without any doubt, that the communion of saints is continually reminding me of God’s presence, God’s forgiveness, and God’s promise that nothing, not even death, will separate me from that which is good and gracious.