photo by jaqian
I was at a funeral in an Anglican church last year, and Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was read out.
I thought it was an amazing statement in support of the ideas in this blog.
Here it is:
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,
nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Listen, I will tell you a mystery!
We will not all die, but we will be changed, in a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
and the dead be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable,
and this mortal body must put on immortality.
When this perishable body puts on the imperishable,
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 gave 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 labour is not in vain.
The meaning is pretty clear, isn’t it? Now I’d be the last person to suggest we take the Bible literally, but in this case, what interpretation could there be other than it’s our destiny to have an immortal physical body? And having one is a victory, no less!
I’m also not suggesting we should pay attention to something because it is in the Bible—I’m commenting on this because it is commonly read out at Christian funerals, I gather.
“this perishable body must put on the imperishable”
“this mortal body must put on immortality”
…these statements are about the physical body—what else could they mean, other than that the physical body is not meant to die?
But I think my partner Frank and I were the only people in the church that day who saw it that way.
I felt sad the person who’d died hadn’t cottoned on to the idea of having an immortal body, like the reading said, in this incarnation. The Christians in the church seemed to think the reading was a joyful passage celebrating either “life after death” or the idea we will become physically immortal in some mysteriously distant scenario. Or it was just something mysterious that they liked. I don’t know.
Regarding the first line “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”, I would agree with the interpretation that the term “flesh and blood” referred to the fallen or untransformed state of mankind, rather than the physical body, in Paul’s writings.
I don’t think we need wait for some mysterious trumpet from somewhere on high before becoming immortal. We can blow our trumpet right now—trumpets have actually been sounding for quite a while.
We have the technology
We need to heal ourselves if we are going to start living forever. That takes quite a bit of courage because it’s the very things we really don’t want to look at or experience that we most need to heal. We would rather die! (And having said that, I obviously don’t know what all people need to do to heal themselves.)
But like any new venture, once you start on it with a clear purpose, the path opens up in front of you and the journey becomes enjoyable and fun. The tools are around these days for healing ourselves of emotional traumas and educating ourselves on how intuition, feelings and thoughts work together in a healthy person.
I would be interested to hear what you think about all this, if you would like to leave a comment.
Cheers – Robin
trumpeter photo by scottfeldstein