Saturday, December 3, 2016
by Paul Sherer
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
One of my favorite Christmas carols refers to “the hopes and fears of all the years.” Is that not where we are today and where we will be on most of our days to come?
At the beginning of today’s scripture Paul tells his audience that he wants everyone to be informed about those who have died so that we do not grieve as others do who have neither hope nor faith.
Paul informs us what we are waiting for. We wait for the cry of command from the Lord himself; the archangel’s call; the sound of God’s trumpet; his descent from heaven; the dead in Christ to rise first; those who are alive and left on earth to be caught up in the clouds together with the dead in Christ; and, all to be with the Lord forever.
And, while we are waiting, how are we to live? By Christ’s commands as best as we are able now and for each of our days to come; in our own special place and time with some very small nits to pick and its greater callings to embrace; sharing God’s grace with all that he has created, is creating and will create; enveloped by the Holy Spirit, sustained by it come what may, and enraptured as we recognize its works; seeking justice; caring for those in need; loving mercy; and walking humbly with our God.
We must live knowing that Jesus is always and forever our Lord and Savior and that God remains in control. This is part of our good news whether there are hopes and fears or not and, as Paul says:
“Therefore encourage one another with these words.”