A Hero’s Welcome

No. 80 - 29th April 2018

I love this time of year with all its new growth. The other day I was driving up to Crowborough through that tunnel of trees and the sun was shining through all the delicate, fresh new leaves. The bluebells were out and everywhere there were signs of new life. It was almost as though the whole of nature was affirming the concept of resurrection after the dead of winter.

I’ve just heard about the death of an old colleague and friend of mine who died this last Easter Sunday. He had been diagnosed with cancer just ten days before, and now he’s gone. He was a fine Christian man. Honourable, hard working and big hearted. His wife died just over three years ago after 63 years of marriage, and now they’re together again. I can say that confidently, not because he was a good man, or because he had dedicated his life to serving God, but because he simply took God at his word and believed that Christ achieved everything for him on that first Easter morning. Christ died so that Ray wouldn’t have to suffer the spiritual death that comes as a consequence of our sinful nature. His sins have been completely blotted out, never to be mentioned again. As the Bible puts it so dramatically, “as far as the East is from the West, that’s how far He’s removed our sins from us”.

Christ was resurrected on that first Easter Sunday, so that my friend Ray could leave his own physical body this last Easter and take on a new, indestructible body. Like Christ, he went to meet his Father God, to a hero’s welcome.

Jesus once said to a woman called Mary, whose brother had just died, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though he dies”. Like an acorn that falls to the ground and is buried, the shell withers and dies, but from that decaying body springs up a new life, a magnificent Oak tree. Ray is up there now, growing into a strong, transformed person with none of the confusion and pain and hurt of this life. I might grieve for my loss, but he has gained everything.

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