Hear the angels sing!

"These all died in faith..." Hebrews 11. 13

In less than a week, we have suffered two significant losses unconnected to Covid 19: one family, the other church family. In both cases the people concerned were believers. They knew where they were going and, in their departing, one could hear the angels sing. So there was blessing in the parting, as well as much sorrow for we shall miss them sorely.

God alone is judge and we have no jurisdiction over where a person goes after death. We commit our departed ones into God's care, trusting they can have no fairer judge than the one who, in love, created them. Concern over what might happen to those who are indifferent to their Creator and even dismissive of Christ as their saviour should provoke our prayers while they live, in the fervent hope that they will "change their knowing" and believe. It can seem like a forlorn task but we are encouraged to persevere, in the conviction that God hears our prayers and answers them according to his pleasure and purpose, which are always good.

But we can go further in the case of a believer because the Bible confirms that exchanging one's sinful life for the new life Jesus offers, through his death and resurrection, secures our place in his Kingdom. Though externally we are wasting away and will eventually die (unless the Lord returns first), our real self will live on and ultimately be re-clothed in a spiritual body which will no longer be subject to decay - like Jesus after his resurrection. Death is the ultimate enemy in this life. But the message of the Bible is that Jesus has overcome death and therefore we need not be intimidated by it.

Indeed it's not even as if death marks a complete break between this life and the next because we are promised that our new life begins the moment we receive Jesus as Saviour and Lord. So it is as if we have one foot in heaven and one on earth or, to change the analogy, as if we are living in the overlap between now and eternity. That being the case, an important question we might ponder is: how can I best use this time of transition the prepare for the eternal future?

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