November 19, 2021

Peace at the Last

Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.
Psalm 68:20
The scriptural view of death is not necessarily the one assumed by most Christians. The Bible doesn't tell us that we "die and go to heaven," but instead implies that we enter a period of rest—of a deep and peaceful sleep during which the world awaits the consummation of the Christian hope. Only on that day will the dead be resurrected. This is why Jesus, the Risen One, is said to be "the first fruits of those who have died."

This image of sleep is infinitely preferable to the bizarre belief of some of the faithful, who seem to think that our loved ones watch over us, protect us, and otherwise concern themselves with the affairs of those who remain. This view obviously steals from God the power of salvation. But it also steals from the saints their well-earned rest. 

Rather than a belief in an unsettled afterlife of worry for people on this side of the veil, let us trust that God grants peace to those who have gone before. What they have taught us and how they have prepared us is the only way they are still involved in our day-to-day lives, and only in the end will we be reunited on a new earth when the city of God has come to earth.

For if we believe that Jesus died and arose again, so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus.
 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (Modern English Version)
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last.
 Book of Common Prayer
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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