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Christenson

The Rev. Chris Christenson

The Apostle Paul was not afraid to speak of death in his letters to the Christian congregations. He referred to his body as merely a tent and how he looked forward to being in his permanent home of heaven.

He spoke of his body as a jar of clay that the more abuse it took, the more he had to suffer, the more that earthen vessel would pour forth the treasure of Christ from within.

To the Philippians he plainly said, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. He went on to say to them that he would rather leave this world and be with Christ which was better by far. Really?

Yes, really. We are reminded again and again in God’s Word and we will celebrate this very fact on Easter Sunday, death has been swallowed up in victory thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus rose from the dead. He was dead and yet he lives.

Our bodies will die and yet we will live. This knowledge brings joy, strength, and courage for each and every day that we walk this earth. But what about the question of our own departure, can we say with the Apostle Paul, to die is gain?

Yes. With faith in Jesus we already have life eternal. We already possess an inheritance that cannot go down in value, it cannot blow away or burn up, it cannot break down.

We have the assurance that not only do we continue to live with God but on the day of Jesus’ return we too will receive the resurrection of our physical bodies. Death has no victory over those who belong to Christ. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is our living hope.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time,” 1 Peter 1:3-5

The Rev. Chris Christenson is pastor at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Crescent.

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