- PASTORS' BLOG
Handwritten notes are becoming a lost art. But not for Doris Kelley, one wonderful senior adult in our church. Each week Doris sends a note to every member of the senior adult department who was unable to attend church on Sunday. The note always includes a scripture and an encouraging word from Doris.
Where do you go when you die?
The patriarchs of Israel died in the presence of their families, and their deaths were recorded with some detail. “Gathered to his fathers” is a phrase used six times in the Old Testament, all in the first five books. It describes what happens when a person dies. The phrase is used in reference to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron.
I did not know of the lively discussion among the rabbis about this phrase until recently. In the time of Jesus a religious sect in Judaism called the Sadducees denied that there was any resurrection or afterlife. Another group, the Pharisees, believed in heaven and hell and the resurrection. This Jewish controversy over the resurrection actually played a major part in the presentation of the gospel of Christ.
This ancient description of death is interesting: “gathered to his fathers.” It is used in Genesis 49:29-33 where several phrases describe what happened to Jacob as he died.
As your loved ones die your belief about the afterlife becomes more and more present, personal and relevant. When your own death seems imminent, the questions about resurrection, heaven and hell loom larger. What waits for us on the other side?
Jesus talks about Abraham in his key description of the life beyond in Luke 16. In fact, Jesus repeatedly mentions Abraham in his teaching about resurrection and the afterlife.
Paul and the apostles focus on the resurrection of Jesus, of course, as they talk about the life to come. My father planned his own funeral with the entire 15th chapter of First Corinthians as the centerpiece. Paul wrote that, if there is no resurrection, then we are false witnesses of God. We claim that God raised Jesus from the dead. But if Jesus did not come out of that grave, then we are giving false testimony (I Corinthians 15:17).
Paul also said that if the resurrection did not occur, then we are still in our sins. Our forgiveness and spiritual restoration hinges on the resurrection of Jesus (I Corinthians 15:15).
Paul then declared, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied” (I Corinthians 15:19).
How is it that we can believe in the resurrection and a new home in heaven? God has conquered sin, death, hell and the grave through the victory that Christ achieved in his death and resurrection. “He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57).
- VISITOR INFO
Main Office Hours
8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Mon - Fri
ELC - Early Learning Center
Sundays 9:30 am - Small Groups
Sundays 10:45 am - Worship Service
Wednesdays 5:00 pm - The Care Effect, Meal
Wednesdays 5:30 pm - Band Rehearsal, Children's Choir
Wednesdays 6:00 pm - Rewind: Bible Study, ESL
Wednesdays 6:30 pm - Youth Worship (OUT), RAs, GAs, Mission Friends
Wednesdays 7:00 pm - Celebration Choir Rehearsal