Before the first Easter, Jesus' disciples had known death only as the end of the line. Jesus shows them a new way of looking at death. No longer a stone wall, a barrier, a termination. No, says Jesus, it's only the passage through customs and immigration, before the next train pulls out of the station.
As this sermon reminds us, the scriptures are very clear and forceful that in times of crisis, many people feel the absence of God. There is pain, loss, brokenness and death in all of our lives. Yet, even in the context of a funeral, we remember what Ezekiel learned: God's breath suffocates death.
Resurrection: What Jesus Did to Death 2 Timothy 1:10
If there be hope for us, declares this sermon - hope which is not a lie - then it must be hope not of our own creation, mortal as we are, not the result of wishful thinking or human potential. It must be something outside of us and our finitude, some stunning intrusion, some act of God reversing our shuffle toward the grave, overcoming the final enemy. That's Easter!
Grief: Danny's Story: Reflections on the Death of a Child (2 Samuel 12:18-23; Isaiah 11:6b)
Death: When a Leader Dies (Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Philippians 4:1-9)