This year’s Memorial Day offered far more celebration than remembrance, except in areas of the Southeast and Maryland grievously afflicted by sub-tropical storm Alberto. The day holds far greater meaning to Christians than presently thought.
Reason one. It reminds us of those departed from us and at home with Jesus. He keeps them in perfect peace, security and joy.
Reason two. It assures us of his return to earth to finalize human history and to inaugurate the kingdom of God, of which the Church is presently its earthy embodiment.
Reason three. Those now with Jesus in Paradise will instantly be renewed in glorified bodies. When they have, those in Christ still alive will be changed into those same bodies. That’s the HOPE Memorial Day surfaces. We’ll see again those we no longer see among us. All we can do now is visit their graves and put flowers down. Many who visit will also talk to the grave as if the person is still there. But that’s merely a self-defense mechanism. We do it from a desire to remember and not forget the one we put away.
For they are not there. They can’t hear us. They don’t want to, dwelling as they do in unfathomed delight. As Revelation 14:13 says, the “dead who die in the Lord...rest from their labor....” If from, then not still involved with us. Let them delight in their deliverance from what we still experience.
Reason four. As Hebrews 2:14-15 reminds us, death is humanity’s greatest enemy, because we have no solution for it, nor will any ever be found by us. Like Pharaoh’s kine and corn, death devours but, ever-devouring, remains skeletal, demanding more victims.
Except that isn’t the end. Death is like a practice that a Law makes outdated and discontinued at a time in the future. The Master’s resurrection passed a law that doomed death to die! True, we still fill graves dug for us; or enclose the ashes in urns. But that’s because the “no more death” Law hasn’t gone into effect yet. Christ’s return on clouds of Glory will immediately put into the effect his Law that “death is no more, ever, eternally.”
The final destruction of death is Christ’s ultimate promise concluding history—and only the beginning of LIFE eternal. When he returns our mortality will be eclipsed by his immortality. Our redeemed nature will be subsumed in his perfect nature. From that instant, and forever after, every thought we have, and every action we take, and everything he lets us be will be HIM living perfectly in US That begins a Glory that never ends.
Thank God for a day to remember, to anticipate, to be perfected by the Perfect Christ.
Nick Canepa writes his sports column for the Union Tribune. Disgusted and disgruntled with, and disrespectful of the San Diego Chargers he rightly calls Judases, he wrote some of his memories. Being a Chargers fan since 974, this writer can understand Canepa’s bittersweet remembrances.
Here are a few.
Canepa first went to the old Balboa Stadium with his dad. How could he forget that? he asked. Our family remembers seeing Old Balboa Stadium just east of downtown. In 1982 he covered his first Chargers training camp as a member of the late “lamented Evening Tribune.” Who doesn’t miss that paper?
He said famed coach Don Coryell would be so deep in concentration on game day he wouldn’t recognize him, though he had covered the Chargers for two years. Once in Seattle on game day Canepa boarded the outdoor glass elevator for a trip to the dining room for breakfast. A few floors down Coryell got on. He didn’t notice Canepa, the only other person aboard. All the way down the two of them descended. At the bottom Coryell got off, not having seen Canepa. “I cracked up,” the Greek wrote.
He also remembered Dan Fouts. What Chargers fan doesn’t? After one practice he met Canepa and took him for a ride. To talk. To get acquainted. The great Quarterback, the Rookie writer.
No doubt who ran the Chargers when Fouts came on the field. He also had a game face. Once, in San Francisco, after Fouts and Montana dueled each other all game long, each throwing over 400 yards, the Chargers won. Fouts sat at his locker. A reporter approached. Stuck his microphone out and asked a question. Fouts replied with a profanity that underscored his demand to get the microphone out of his face. He then realized it was his dad, longtime announcer for the Niners. U-T, 6/19/17
There were more memories in the column, but you see how it went. Memories...football, football players and football teams, years and years—56 in all—painful, joyful, disappointing—more of that than anything for Chargers fans. Septembers won’t be the same in San Diego. Memories don’t play within those yard markers.
Have any memories that still delight you? Humble you? Challenge you? Swell tears or bring a chuckle? Memories: what’s gone and won’t return; they last but can’t be made into more. Thank God Christians have memories. And thank God, we have greater golden joys coming than the good memories now embraced.
One day in 1995 the mother-daughter duo leafed through Valentine cards at an antique store. The daughter spied a fancy-foldout card. To her surprised delight it had her mother’s signature on the back. She had given that card to her teacher 65 years before! It may have cost her mother a dime in 1930. It cost her daughter $20 to purchase it from the antique store—and worth it. Reminisce, Hard Cover book, p. 191
A spiritual principle lurks in their experience. The best time to become a Christian is within our early teen years: when we still have a relatively unmarked life. Or as soon as possible, when our bad habits haven’t become so essential we can’t live without them. However, while that’s true, and equally true that the longer we wait to accept Christ the harder it is to get beyond old habits, accept Jesus, whatever the cost! Never live without him, however short our experience with him. A day spent with Jesus excels a lifetime without him. Never die without him, for eternity then will be one complete, overwhelming misery.
Lady Nancy Astor awoke briefly and saw her family around her bed. She asked, “Am I dying or is this my birthday?” San Diego U-T, 1/23/18 If she had Jesus as Savior, it really was her birthday—another child of God entering eternal life.
Questions people ask employees in National Parks. In Yosemite: when do they let the deer out? Or, can we visit Yosemite and Yellowstone in one day? Or, when do they turn the waterfalls on? In Colorado National Monument: at what altitude do deer turn into elk? In Bryce Canyon, Utah: opening a map of the Grand Canyon, a tourist asked: where am I on this map? In Disneyland: what time is the 2 o’clock parade? On a cruise ship: do elevators only go up and down? Etc. Westways Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2018, 48-49
These aren’t as silly as questions we ask God. Such as, are you serious that only Jesus can save everyone? Or, how can one person’s sacrifice of himself offer forgiveness for everyone? Or, how can you fail to appreciate the many sincere religious leaders throughout history? Or, are you sure we must seek the Bible for our life-directions and ignore the knowledge humanity has accumulated through the centuries? Or, why can’t culture determine what’s most useful for it at any given time in history?
The questions are silly because God has already answered them and left no doubt what he meant. We’ll never stop asking such questions because we won’t learn to accept God’s priority in life; God’s presence in history; God embodied in Christ; God finalizing history in Christ’s Return from Heaven. Until we learn these truths, God will scorn, ridicule and mock any silly questions we ask. Do we really want to ask questions that make God laugh and scoff? When the only interrogatives he’ll entertain are those which deal with our ignorance and his wisdom; our inability and his capability; our need of his guidance and our despair without it; our lack of any potential and his complete empowerment?
James Michener tells of two different groups of Indians in early America. Of one group some turned south to Mexico and founded the Aztec Empire; others in it stayed in Colorado and became the Ute’s. One enjoyed a dazzling civilization, the other a marginal one. Of the other in Baja, California, some turned east, found easy access to the valleys of Peru and founded the Inca Empire; others turned westward and found themselves trapped in the Baja wilderness. From one came the treasures that enchanted Pizzaro; to the other marginal existence. Centennial, pp. 117-118
Choices and destiny cannot be separated, not among nations or among individuals. What we are and become often relate directly to the choices we make each day.
Israel had a choice before them, Isaiah declared in 58:5, that would determine their future. They could continue in their time-honored sinful ways and be irretrievably condemned by God. Or they could humble themselves, obey Moses, live the faith they professed, and receive God’s favor.
We also face choices: in our careers, marriage partners, places of residence. Each choice offers benefits and disadvantages. But no choice so radically affects our destiny as our acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ. If we resist him, we consign ourselves to monotonous failure in this life, whatever success we may claim. If we accept him, we assure ourselves of success in this life, as God estimates success, and life eternal beyond the grave.
Think about that when we postpone a commitment to Jesus. That decision may precipitate the loss of our soul. For who says we may have another chance to make that choice?