These last few days, Pastor Brian, Buzz, Martha, Lucia, and I have been attending Annual Conference in Arlington. I consider it penance for a lot of sin. And while I don’t know what the other’s sins are, I know mine and I deserve Annual Conference. Enough said.
One of the good things about Annual Conference is that I get to visit with other pastors that I don’t usually see.
One of the pastors I ran into was Dr. Clifton Howard, our former district superintendent.
As we began to visit I noticed his new sports coat. I said, “If you die, can I have that coat?” Clifton said he wouldn’t be needing it anymore. And then I said, “Let’s tell Barbara to make sure she knows the coat is mine.” Clifton said, “Let’s don’t tell her because she might make it happen faster than I want to.” That’s when I began to wonder about their marriage.
Because I have always known Clifton to be a marginally adequate Christian, I know how he sees death. It is nothing more than stepping through the door of this life into the eternal life that God has already prepared for him.
This is what Paul was talking about when he said, “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
Please know that God loves you so much, you have no reason to fear death. That’s because Jesus Christ has already given you eternal life. All you have to do is accept this wonderful gift and live in joy and peace for eternity. That’s how good our God is.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, in those moments when I am filled with fear of the unknown, help me to remember you are already there. Remind me of your power and love. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Don’t be afraid of death. God’s got it under control.
Also, while I don’t want Clifton to go to heaven soon, I really am looking forward to wearing that jacket. I will look good.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.