By Michael Smith
A Reading from 1 Corinthians 15:41-50
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory.
42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
“We believe in the resurrection of the dead,” we profess in the words of the Nicene Creed. Some mistakenly think this article refers to the resurrection of Jesus, but it actually points to the future of those who are joined to Christ through repentance, faith, and baptism. It is about the resurrection of the faithful, with Christ being the “first fruits of those who have died” (1 Cor. 15:20). It is also the reason that many liturgically make the sign of the cross over their own physical bodies at the recitation of the words.
Is this simply pious teaching or truth with consequences? N. T. Wright thinks the latter. In his book, Surprised by Hope, he writes: “What you do in the present — by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself — will last into God’s future.” These are important thoughts worth pondering.
Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for fifteen years and is currently the Assistant Bishop of Dallas. He works with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative and is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
To receive a TLC Daily Devotional in your inbox each morning, click here.
Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Gombe (Church of Nigeria)
Church of the Good Shepherd, Corpus Christi, Texas