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Friday, April 1, 2016

Today’s Reading | 1 Corinthians 15:51–58 

Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (NRSV)

Recently I started making bean sprouts in my kitchen. I bought a special lid for a simple glass canning jar that has a sieve on top—to let air in and to allow me to pour excess water out. I put a few mung bean seeds in there and let them soak in water for a few hours. After swishing, I pour the water out and wait.

Every day I put fresh water on them, swish, and drain it off. After a day or two the casings on the seeds begin to crack as the seed swells. A tiny shoot pokes out the end. Water, swish, drain, and wait. After about four days I no longer have a jar of a few bare seeds but full of juicy bean sprouts for my salads.

Paul uses the analogy of seeds to talk about resurrection. He writes, “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as God has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body” (1 Corinthians 15:36–38).

The hard dry seeds grow into something different, something transformed, a vibrant body, full of life. This is true of our bodies also. In a way it’s true of our daily lives and all the little deaths, failures, and successful transformations we go through. Things continue changing form because things continue to grow and take on new life.

When death leads to something greater than what existed before, death becomes less scary. Death loses its sting because we know it’s not a disappearance but a transformation into something more alive and beautiful than we can imagine. This is some of the most astonishing work that God does—helping things die and be reborn. At the end of this life God will do the same for us.

Spirit of Life, help me to trust that you are changing me and preparing me for ever-more abundant life, from now to eternity. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Minister for Congregational Life

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