Biologically speaking, death and rebirth surround us everywhere in our everyday life. Animals and plants give up their lives in order for us to eat and sustain our lives. New plants grow out of the death of previous plants which leave the seeds behind. Dead things decay, which enriches the soil around it and eventually leads to healthier life springing forth. Even our own cells die (we are completely “reborn” on a cellular level every seven years) and new cells are born. (Youth Cartel, Viva-67) Resurrection and New Life are happening all around us!
Start today by going outside and look and see how many examples of death and rebirth you can find. Try to be as specific as possible. You may start by looking for signs of new life and working your way backwards. For example: Find a flower.. It used to just be a plant, that was a seed, that had to be buried in the ground. Find a butterfly.. that used to be in a cocoon, that was a caterpillar, that had to be reborn into a butterfly.
All your examples of new life are really examples of Resurrection. Jesus being resurrected for the dead seemed like a crazy new idea.. But does it surprise you that Resurrection is all around us?
Why do you think that God made the world with so much death and rebirth happening all around us every day?
Do you feel that seeing practical examples of resurrection everyday can help your faith? Why or why not?
You know when the first church of Christ was beginning and growing, there were many questions about the Resurrection and about the new life that God promises us. Today, I want us to read a letter written by Paul to one of the first churches. This church was having a big debate about what it means to be Resurrected with Christ. The church was debating if that meant that our actual bodies would be risen from the dead? Or if it was some kind of metaphor of our spiritual bodies being risen from the dead.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-44 to hear how Paul responds to their debate. I have included The Message version so you can better see the argument.
“35-38 Some skeptic is sure to ask, “Show me how resurrection works. Give me a diagram; draw me a picture. What does this ‘resurrection body’ look like?” If you look at this question closely, you realize how absurd it is. There are no diagrams for this kind of thing. We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don’t look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.
39-41 You will notice that the variety of bodies is stunning. Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form. You get a hint at the diversity of resurrection glory by looking at the diversity of bodies not only on earth but in the skies—sun, moon, stars—all these varieties of beauty and brightness. And we’re only looking at pre-resurrection “seeds”—who can imagine what the resurrection “plants” will be like!
42-44 This image of planting a dead seed and raising a live plant is a mere sketch at best, but perhaps it will help in approaching the mystery of the resurrection body—but only if you keep in mind that when we’re raised, we’re raised for good, alive forever! The corpse that’s planted is no beauty, but when it’s raised, it’s glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality!” (Biblegateway.com)
What is your first idea, response, questions from reading this passage?
One thing that stood out to me…Is that God is our Creator and God is so creative! I know that may sound obvious, but think about it. When you first look at the world there are so many differences and not one thing is perfectly alike.. we are all different. Every animal, every plant, and every person. And yet, we all work on the same cycle of life and death. God somehow takes everything that dies and turns it into new life.. every seed, every dead plant (feeds a person or animal), every dead animal, even the dying leaves of the fall turn into dirt that fuels the seeds of spring. God is so much smarter than us! God shows us every day the promise of Resurrection. It is like our daily reminder that God can and will resurrect us! God will create new life in and through us. God is helping us build our faith through daily reminders in nature and through life. You could even say that every time you need to eat something you are experiencing God’s resurrection and new life. The things that you are eating had to die so that you could live.
That is a lot to think about..
How do these two ideas give you hope for new life today and after death?
How does it make you think outside the box of what new life could look like after death?
I hope our faith grows as we take time to look at all the resurrection happening all around us today. I hope our imagination grows in the possibilities of what God can do. I hope that our trust in God grows as we see how beautiful new life can be.