Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Resurrection of Our Bodies

Stott’s reading today is entitled “The Resurrection of the Body”  (p. 284). He is exactly where Fr. Brown is in rejecting the idea of resuscitation, citing, as Brown does, 1 Cor. 15:42ff.  Scott also rejects the idea that the hope of resurrection is “merely the survival of the soul,” an idea I heard expressed only yesterday by a long-time churchgoer.  Stott quotes Luke 24:39: “It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 

I cannot remember ever an Easter sermon (or any other Sunday morning sermon, for that matter) on the specific subject of Jesus own resurrection body being a hope for each of us.  (Of course, I have heard many Easter sermons on the general idea of the hope of the resurrection.)  I remember sermons about Jesus’ own body that tend in the right direction as to his body.  I don’t remember, however, any firm connection of that idea with the resurrection of our bodies.  (Maybe I just wasn’t listening.)  I do recall funeral services where the right scriptures are read, but with very little comment, if any, on what they really teach about the decedent's body, other than he "is in heaven with Jesus," a happy hope but not very specific.

As to memorable Easter sermons, the one that sticks out in my mind was by the Methodist minister many years ago at the church Carol’s mother attended.   He spoke of his struggle with the idea of Jesus’ “literal” resurrection (or maybe he was thinking resuscitation) and how, only that weekend, had he come to the full realization that it really happened.  As we left that service, I felt that everyone there in that crowded sanctuary had joined together in happy agreement to suspend incredulity, at least for the day.  Now that was memorable.

Stott ends the reading with the following:

To sum up, what we are looking forward to is neither a resuscitation (in which we are raised but not changed) nor a survival (in which we are changed into a ghost but not raised bodily) but a resurrection (in which we are both raised and changed, transfigured and glorified simultaneously).

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